Casey Stoner Post Catalunya Debrief: "Lorenzo Is Winning Through Consistency"

Q: Can you explain what happened at Turn 1?

Casey Stoner: The air turbine basically just makes you go that much faster. Even when you're on the brakes you're still getting a slipstream, so I just wasn't able to stop fast enough, because both of them [Lorenzo and Dovizioso] were just a little bit offset, so I got a slipstream off both, and I got a little bit ahead of myself.

Q: Somebody said this is the second race that you are following the Honda because you are studying it...

CS: This should be coming from you! [Points at Italian journalist who has been badgering Stoner about whether he has signed for Honda, and the assembled press all laugh.]

But personally, I'd much rather beat it. The last race, I didn't have much chance to try to attack Dani because the arm pump came and I wasn't able even to be close enough. This race, I put my wheel in everywhere I could to try and pass Dani, but he just got the acceleration, he got good traction, and was good enough on the brakes to keep me off, and that was it. I mean, if you don't make a mistake, for me to get close enough was impossible. So this is the only reason, and it's not what everyone is thinking about me studying it! [Laughs]

Q: Do you think that's part of the problem with MotoGP today, nobody makes a mistake, there are so few mistakes that it becomes almost impossible to pass anywhere? You're all getting too good, perhaps?

CS: But this is just a progression of racing since 1950, you know? Even back in the early 90s, you used to be able to see people come from 20 meters back, outbrake four guys into the last chicane at Suzuka, and keep going, not even run wide. It just doesn't happen these days, riders have become more precise, machinery has become more precise. I'm sure the next generation after us are just going to make us look stupid.

So this is why there cannot be any comparison one rider to another, they were the best of their time. Because you can't compare to that, you know? In the old days, you didn't have to run nearly as much corner speed, you had more time to think about things, come out of the corner, pick the bike up; there were more limits to what the bike could do. With these, you just seem to be able to keep pushing them further and further until you crash. It's the small mistakes that upsets everyone and makes things, but my mistakes at Silverstone and here weren't small mistakes, they were quite big. We should have been able to capitalize on it, still, and get good results.

Q: You were the fastest at Qatar and Le Mans, but you crashed out. Filippo Preziosi told me that they should invent some kind of a crash warning light that comes on a second before you crash...

CS: Well Filippo's a genius, so probably he could come up with it in the future... [Laughs] But personally, I think this is an impossible task.

We know now the reason for the problem at the front end. Suzuki found the same problem as me; as you've seen, the other Ducati riders are now struggling and I'm in the front. So we've seen a big turnaround because I went back to the old forks. I'm positive I've found the problem, the new forks just don't work with our bike. They don't give the feedback, they don't work well enough for us. We don't put enough pressure maybe on the forks, and for me this is a problem.

As soon as we changed it, even today, I lost the front many times but I was able to save it without a problem, without being scared. In the past, the bike would feel perfect, and then it would be gone, it was game over. So for me, we've found the problem and we're doing a good job.

Q: When you got sucked into that air, that slipstream and ran off the track, it must be so difficult to react and slow yourself down...

CS: Well, to be honest, I was maxed out with braking today, our bike wasn't good on the brakes. So I wasn't really able to take any time off anyone on the brakes, whereas normally we're quite good. But yeah, as Jorge and Dani were just slightly staggered, so I'm getting a big slipstream, a big buffet, and even when I got on the brakes, we were still going fast enough to get a slipstream. So there was just no stopping, I wasn't going to stop; I was pulling the brakes and they weren't doing anything for me, so I just decided to run it round and keep everybody up, instead of wipe myself and everybody else out.

Q: What issue were you having with the brakes? What was the problem?

CS: Just setting. You know, it's easy to have one setup that's no good for brakes and another one that is very good, but normally when they're very good, the bike doesn't turn. We got the bike turning, it's no good on the brakes so … We need to find a bit more of a balance. This morning, the braking point got a little bit better, but we changed the setting for the race, because we were putting too much weight on the front, obviously we took too much weight off, and we just couldn't get the braking stability or the power or anything, like I did this morning.

Q: You and Dani both ran off at Turn 1, and then you had difficulty making up that time, and perhaps you thought you could have. Are you worried at all about the comfortable gap that Jorge seems to have at most tracks now?

CS: Normally, when people win races, they're faster, you know, and you can understand that they're a lot faster. In the last two or three races, I haven't seen Jorge be unbelievably fast, he's just been consistent. And this is the difference, this is where he's doing the job; everyone's making mistakes around him, but consistency-wise is where he's getting it from, just being able to do the same thing. I don't think he has to push his machinery as hard as others do, maybe. But yeah, everybody's just trying to make up the difference with that.

But say, when, say, Valentino wins races, you know why he's fast, you know why he's out there pulling a gap. Jorge's able just to pull a very small amount each lap, and reel off a lot of consistent ones. So in Assen, without the arm pump, I believe I can stay there; in this race, without a stupid mistake, we were the same. So you know it's only in Silverstone that it's completely unknown, because we got such a bad start it was impossible to understand.

Q: So, setup aside, if there was anything you could ask Filippo for now, engine or other changes, is there anything you'd ask for that would make it a bit easier?

CS: Just a bit more acceleration. That's about it. Our bike is that much easier to ride than last year at the acceleration point, but it's just everyone else has taken another huge leap. We went backwards with engine power because we went to the big bang, so they just need more time to develop it, really. We took a step back slightly, the bike's definitely easier to ride, better off the turns, better traction, but yes, it's making things a little bit more difficult when we need to pass.

Q: Are you expecting to get a new engine with better acceleration, maybe at the Brno tests?

CS: Probably not. I don't think we're going to see much change before the end of the year.

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"We went backwards with engine power because we went to the big bang, so they just need more time to develop it..."
"We went backwards...." but "they need more time..." cause im off to Honda!

 He's always like this. It's just that that doesn't come across in print, or in the talking heads videos you see on

Manage to show Casey in a better light then others David, and I commend you for that! It's very easy to jump on the "Casey is a whinging sod who's never grateful and never thinks it's his fault" bandwagon.

I heard Gavin say that after Assen Casey grabbed his arm and said, "That's as hard as I can grip your arm", and Gavin said that he was barely able to put any pressure on it. No word on whether that affected him in the race?

I only write down what Casey says.

Stoner said in the press conference that he'd had no problems with arm pump at Catalunya. It should be over, which is what we need if someone is to start catching Lorenzo. 

Good interview. Stoner speaks the truth, and people think he is complaining.
He could just give nice " pleasant replies " to please everyone, but, I give him credit for speaking his mind.

The Ducati has definitely gone backwards powerwise this year.

I'm a huge fan of Nicky and Stoner (and adriana even more :) so it's never fun to see them and a honda come out of a corner into a long straight, and have the honda steadily and noticeably pull away from them. It's still not as bad as seeing Biaggi on the Aprilia earlier this WSBK season just obliterate the rest of the field down the straights, but it's got to definitely weigh on the minds of the two MotoGP ducati men.

Also, quite a bit off topic, but on the subject of Ducati, someone mentioned before that as of June 22nd, some quite-stringent advertising rules went into effect regarding tobacco/alcohol (that were even more severe than before??) which I guess made Ducati not feel comfortable putting the barcode back on the bike after a few rounds ago. Marlboro surely cannot be liking that, so I wonder if they're just sucking it up for the rest of the season, then when Vale comes to Ducati next year (and perhaps bring Fiat with him?) that the ducati & marlboro relationship will come to a close. If so, Ducati had best hope that Rossi does sign for them, as if there's no marlboro money (which seemed to carry a carte blanche) then perhaps that might hurt Ducati's development funds. [Note: I just find the marketing aspect of racing to be quite interesting]

Ducati and Marlboro had a month or two ago renewed their contract until the end of 2012.

Edited to add that Telecom Italia has just renewed its sponsorship with Ducati Marlboro until 2012 as well.

I brought this up in a different thread a while back. Mostly though, I was curious how it would effect their relationship. I'm sure that advertising outside of the states is beyond their reach.

It would be interesting if there was a "special livery" for the American round that doesn't directly include tobacco as a sponsor. After all, breaking the spirit of a rule, is much easier to get away with than actually breaking it.

Marlboro has sponsored Ferrari in F1 for a while and with the new rules they own all the space on the car and sell it to other sponsors. Maybe they are going the same route with the Ducati team?

...that he says the "big bang" is the reason they're down on power.

Nothing to do with rev limits and engine limits regulations, eh?

For accelerating out of the corners engine power in the lower and mid revs are important and that's where the firing order kicks in.

But Ducati seems to have also lost max engine power, even out of the slipstream Casey couldn't overtake Dani. And that might have something todo with engine life ...

it was because they had no top speed. But after reading his comments, maybe it's because he wasn't able to set up the bike to brake later and deeper.

Could it also be that Dani is getting better on the brakes and nobnody noticed?

Yes, Casey mentioned that the bike wasn't good on the breaks, he explained it that the reason was the setup, they sacrificed breaking performance for corner speed.

What I be interessted in, Casey said that they had a good setup in WUP but modified it for the race. So was the WUP setup better or worse than the race setup?

But I think yes, Dani improved. My impression is that Dani is doing a lot practicing between the races, I think he's working hard on his fitness and skills. Just think about how he improved his wet race performance.

And, how could we notice him getting better on the breaks when we never see him in a battle? ;-)

The Ducati couldn't get by people on the straight last year either. I think it's related to fuel strategy. Casey either takes it easy and saves fuel in the slip stream or the fuel sim suggests long gears to save fuel.

I don't know exactly why the Ducati is a little slow in a straight line at Catalunya, but it happened before the engine rules.

I have been following Casey since his debut with Ducati and despite my bias to Ducati, I must say he is a refreshingly honest and sensible guy. He speaks his mind clearly and calls it like he sees it. His observations and comments about the technical aspects are pretty insightful and he doesn't take the audience for a fool. As are his comments about other riders and general historical aspects of racing. What's more, on those rare occasions he stuffs it, he is the first to put his hand up. I still remember in Japan (maybe 2007 or 2008) when he overtook Dani with a not so questionable and clean move, he immediately put his hand up as he passed to say sorry.

I really cannot understand why he gets the criticism.

Well done, David - you're probably the only person who manages to present Casey as he is. I really really hope he stays with Ducati.

Am sure you've explained it earlier, but why have you stopped your detailed match reports? I really used to look forward to them as the most insightful reporting anywhere. I miss them and have on occasion gone back to your archived copies to re-live the pleasure.

...they take a lot of time to write, and most of that time is now spent in transit.

The tradeoff for actually being at the races and present for the interviews, is the amount of time previously spent in front of the computer considering the event from afar.

At least, that's how I see it as a fan... ;-)

like many of your fans, I sorely miss your excellent post-race reviews and analysis. I've been a MotoMatters website fan for several years now, and was delighted when I discovered the site. There is nothing else on the web that matches the quality of information and commentary on MotoGP as that presented by MotoMatters.

I do surely understand the time problem, as I do a spot of writing myself, and I appreciate the significant (and always underestimated) amount of time it takes to pen a good article.

But as just not me, but many of your followers, point out, we miss these excellent post-race write-ups. There is simply nothing else on the web that compared with your efforts.

You're surely entitled, and have well earned the right, to decide how you should allocate your time and efforts. But do at least consider the possiblity that given the appreciation we readers feel for the post-race reviews, perhaps it might be worthwhile to forego time spent on something else for a return to composing those wonderful race reviews for us.

Makes no difference what you decide, though, David - I'm certain that I, along with all the other MotoMatters followers, will continue to stick with MotoMatters for the consistently high quality of MotoGP information, analysis and commentary.

Job very well done indeed.


I totally agree with jb_motohead.

I love this seasons up-close reports and interviews. It really shows mr. K is right in the middle of it all, giving us great first hand insights in the world of MotoGP.

Yet, I also really miss reading the race reports. It was a ritual to me: screen on F11, mug of coffee in hand, grinning whilst reliving the race and enjoying the analysis *sigh*. Still, this is one of the very best MotoGP sites out there and improving all the time. Keep it up!

When I can afford more staff to help with the basics of the website, and the stuff I do with post-race debriefs, and race summaries, etc etc, then I would like to get back to writing the race reports. They probably won't be as detailed, but they would take me between 8 and 16 hours to write, and right now, I'm losing at least 8 hours just in travel, sometimes much more. I hope you can wait until I have the staff, which will probably be either next year or the year after.

I love the post-race writeups, but these post-race debriefs provide so much more insight into what is going on inside the helmet of the riders, I'll happily wait for the writeup as long as we can continue with the debriefs! :)

"as Jorge and Dani were just slightly staggered, so I'm getting a big slipstream"

did Casey believe he was riding with Jorge and Dani when he ran wide?
no love for Dovisioso i guess.

Dovi in the after race comments - possible typo or slight mistake. We do read alot into everything these guys say...

I'd like to know what the design difference is in the forks that takes away all the feel. Nitty gritty details are likely not forthcoming, but maybe just the overarching design differences. I'm probably late to the party (again) on this subject and everybody else knows.

You can't get these forks from Öhlins as a private rider, so I guess none has real world experience with these beasts.

What I can show you is the (optical) difference between new and old Öhlins fork:

Dani with the new fork

Casey with the old one

Note the small golden cylinder parallel to the fork behinde the front axel on Casey's bike, that cylinder is gone at Dani's bike.

Casey noted that with the new fork he is "higher in the stroke" in the corners. Mechanically I don't understand it because this would mean he doesn't use the full stroke which seems like having a too high spring rate or something.
But maybe the spring isn't linear ...., don't know, just guessing around.

IIRC from Neil Spalding's explanation in MCN the old forks are thinner than the new ones. As a result the old forks flex more going over bumps when leaned over and help keep the tyre in contact with the tarmac. This is a problem for the Ducati because of the stiffness of the carbon fibre frame.

Why is Nicky so far off the pace again all of a sudden? HAs it got anything to do with Stoner being on it again? HAve there been changes made that suit Stoner and forced on Nicky?

The announcer for the Speed TV broadcast called it "tired engine issues", I believe.  The team have to implement a strategy for dealing with the problems of being short on engines.  Why they wouldn't wait until Sachsenring to use up tired motors, I don't know.

However, a more interesting question for the team would be related to those front forks.  Would Hayden be better with the old ones, or would he revert to last year's problems?

really hate this 6-engine rule? I can't stand that it's become a strategy of "taking it easy" to make the engine last. It seems like there is no margin for error with 18 races and 6 engines, having to make an engine last 3 races each. So if someone crashes and manages to wreck an engine, then they're basically hamstrung for a fresh engine depending on where in the season they are. If someone had some unfortunate issues before, or if an engine just didn't make the cut and they had to unseal it before they could even get any useful life out of it, then they're going to have to take a penalty-engine and start at the back of the grid? This series should be about racing, start fresh every grid the same as every other ride, and not make panzer-general engine-allotment strategizing such a huge part of it.

but the manufacturers did it to themselves. They asked for the 6-engine rule and that's what they got. Maybe it's a case of 'Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it'? I personally would like to see a fresh engine on each bike at each race just so that they could wring the neck and get everything from it, but with things as they are, I can see why a factory would want to limit engines. It supposedly limits cost because you don't have to make as many engines, but I firmly believe that the production cost is more than outweighed by the engineering cost.

...that if Casey rode like he talked(straight and hard) and talked like he rode(with tact and care for everyone on the track), he'd be an unstoppable rider with an insane amount of support & fans behind him.

twitter @deftjester

I for one really hope that Casey actually stays with Ducati. I guess the bubble will burst pretty soon as to who is actually going where.
The current bike certainly seems to be below the pace of the Honda and once again it looks as though Casey, with all due respect to Nicky is the only one that can run the same pace as Jorge and the Repsol duo.
Ducati will miss his performance much like Honda missed Rossi when he switched.
Great article David.

I found your site after THE great RACE / FIGHT in Laguna Seca between Stoner & Rossi.
Some days later I was "googling" for comments on that race on the web and after 4/5 attempts whithout any interest i found you race was like reliving all the emotions i got from seeing the race on TV.

From then on i visit motomatters daily looking for news & insights.

Here in Portugal, motogp is for the two last years payperview cable pay for a realy BAD service! I refuse to pay for that!
So i´ve been getting the best info through this site. And like many others have said here...I realy miss your race report.
I miss it as bad as i miss the "smoking powerslides" out off the corners!!!! -that´s how much i miss it!!

Keep up the great work!

won't see much in the way of factory improvements from Yamaha once Vali is confirmed to Ducati. Jorge will get all the trick developments.

I hope Stoner stays at Ducati as he and Hayden make a great team.

Well thats true, he is always first over the line!

I admire Casey & Im sure he is a nice guy. The press give him a hard time but he does not help himself at times. Yes I 100% agree with him "slower towing riders" statement, but when he slags of the bike for "crashing" when another 4 Ducatis did not, then it makes him look bad.

No doubt it knocks another 0 off his new HRC contract too.

Sometimes I read his comments and think damn he's pretentious, but lately I can't get enough of these interviews. It seems like most poeple don't like his attitude but he's raw. I'm a huge Stoner fan and I even get put off by his comments. Anyway, he's right about the bike. Hayden's doing way better so its obviously easier to ride but even at the first race of Qatar you could see that Honda just walking away from the Duke! It was a sign of what was to come the rest of the season.
Don't go Stoner! Don't Go!

You say it's bad to slag off the Ducati while 4 other riders aren't crashing...they also aren't doing anything without Casey. 5 races till the first Ducati podium and it was still Casey. Try as Hayden might he still can't podium even when he finished in front of Casey. One of the times he finished in front of Casey, even Rossi wasn't there and there were still 3 riders in front of him. And I also believe the Kallio was having the same front-end issues wasn't he? Now that Casey's got the front end sorted, he'll be on the box. Whether he can get on top of the box or not I don't know!

Many of the Ducatis have lost the front, Stoner being the most visible one but I think Kallio's crashed even more due to the front. Espargaro lost it last race and Hayden at least once. Can't remember Barbera's record.

Last time Hayden has lost the front,it was at Assen during Fp2,he broke his engine on one of his bike,he lost the front with his second.

I read somewhere (AMCN I think) that one of the front end folds was due at least partially to Stoner using too much front brake. That leads me to think that if his bike is slower than it used to be relative to it's competitors, and he does have an issue with the front end, I can imagine him worsening the problem by trying to push to hard to make up for it. The guy certainly is aggressive. I also think that as much as he says he has solved the issue with the front end, perhaps he has also realised that he needs to ride the GP10 differently to what he is used to and has started doing so. I mean, you can academically realise you need to do something different, but when you get back on the bike/court/field or whatever, perhaps old habits die hard. I also think he is more affected by the mental side of racing more than he likes to admit.

As long as there is motorcycle racing (on two wheels) there will be lowsides and highsides. Sometimes they are caused by the front end, the rear end, the motor, the tires or a bump in the track. There is always a reason / excuse - no?

The common denominator is always that the rider is riding past the capabilities of the hardware, software or himself.

If there was no danger of falling where would the challange be?

I love this sport.

I find my self wondering why none of the factory teams have licensed the MotoCzysz front fork design. This article (or comments) talks about the lateral flex of the forks and controlling the position in the stroke, but I believe that The MC design accommodates both of these issues, no?

Either way, I would like to see at least some of the MC make it to the mainstream if we can't get the whole bike on the grid.

Two things you need to remember about "funny" front ends: 1. Teams are incredibly conservative, and don't like to try anything radical. Evolution they can cope with, revolution they can't. 2. The teams have 40+ years of experience with telescopic front forks. Any new scheme will need at least 5 years to get up to speed. Michael Czysz is probably doing the right thing developing the forks in the electric racing scene, where everything is revolutionary.

How about..they don't work?

Like all the "revolutionary(?)" ideas hatched from the pungent imagination of Mr. Czysz, his fork idea of "tuneable-flex" (or whatever he calls it) is based on his misguided belief that HE (alone) is the keeper of the holy grail of true motorcycle vision & everyone else is bound & wedded to orthodoxy.

asujosh1, you & others have been dazzled by the hype & the reason NONE of MotoCzysz "technology" has "made it to the mainstream" is because in the cold world of racing, style never trumps substance.

Not a big fan of Michael Cycsz (though I do like the team and the things he designs), but he isn't responsible for making stylistic junk that has no place in GP.

The MSMA do not want disruptive technology, it's that simple, imo. The motorcycle has had passive suspension at full lean and rear wheel drive for 100 years now even though there have been tons of improvements.

Ducati made a 2 into 1 fork system that improved airflow around the headstock which reduced drag and improved radiator efficiency. Nobody, not even Ducati run the system even though they reportedly know it works.

The Ecosse team pioneered the milti-chain drive system which slimmed the back of the bike and reduced drag by a claimed 10%-15% while robbing just a little over 5 hp. Nobody cares?

Ohlins created a hydraulic 2-wheel drive system the reduced rolling resistance at the front wheel, improved tire life, and increased the efficiency of the contact patch. No worth it to investigate? (maybe it's banned).

Anything that disrupts the steady improvement of the MSMA's R&D departments is not welcome. They just want to tweak the engines, play with the electronics, and gather chassis data and make minor improvements to the twin-spar frames that they use in the production market. If any real improvements are going to be made, it will be in Moto2 when they lift the spec engine. Hopefully, Cycsz will have a go in Moto2 and we will see whether he's fluff or substance.

Phoenix1, are you suggesting this conspiracy of the status quo promulgated by the MSMA has its tenticles into the AMA, BSB, Moto2, Australian SBK & every other racing series that has open suspension rules?

How can forks be a "disruptive" technology? We are not talking about NIH; why would Honda abandon Showa for Ohlins? No offense to Kent Ohlins, but what is the difference between his company & Czysz.....other than his forks work better than what the OEMs can make?

I'd say Ducati's CF frame has far greater implications for upsetting the status quo. When (I don't believe if) that technology proves superior, significantly more resources will have to be allocated to catching up, than what would be necessary to adapting a set of forks.

MC said he had spoken to Ohlins about licensing his "technology"; I'd be curious as to why that didn't come to fruition. Perhaps David could ask.

As to why the technologies you mentioned didn't make into prime time, perhaps there were trade-offs that negated their advantages, but a superior fork design would quickly be adopted...Czysz's just isn't.

His inverted poppet valve (US Patent 7182056)...stylistic junk, covers it nicely.

I'm saying that the MSMA have a working agreement or a memorandum of understanding just like all of the F1 manufacturers to keep certain disruptive technologies out of the sport. Pneumatic valves are about the only production irrelevant technology to make it past the gatekeeper. Pneumatics are legal b/c desmo is legal.

I agree about carbon fiber frames; however, if you listen closely, the only reason Ducati switched to carbon fiber (or the only reason it was approved) is b/c the quality of aluminum production in Italy is not sufficient to meet the needs of a modern GP bike.

Costs, not conspiracy, keep disruptive tech out of production bike racing.

If you consider the affects of a 10%-15% drop in aerodynamic drag, or if you consider the effects of another .25g-.5 lateral g's, you would understand the need for "defining" a motorcycle via some kind of MSMA contract or MOU. They aren't going to leave a media property with 6m weekly viewers to the whimsical developments of third party prototype manufacturers.

That's not conspiracy, it's called business.

when I was implying a conspiracy.

My point is that Czysz's fork even if you make the giant leap (which I am NOT willing to do) represents an advancement; doesn't represent anything but a non-"disruptive" potential minor incremental improvement.

Only one of Czysz's intestinally embedded sycophants would believe a .25g -.5 lateral g improvement could be gained...surely you are not implying it. How would a telescopic fork (a copy of a 1995 Cannondale mountain bike) change the "definition" of GP motorcycles?

I take issue with your Ducati CF characterization. Do you really believe that some Italian aluminum quality problem is the ONLY reason they chose CF? Is aluminum importation akin to illict drug trafficing in Italy? Are you familiar with the CF bicycle frame's total domination of that industry? I assure you Italian aluminum had nothing to do with it.

Truth is...MotoCzysz forks are just as much a hype as the vaporware MotoGP bike, if they were an improvement they'd have to be on every bike...that's called racing.