The Saga Of Rossi's Shoulder, And Words For His Rivals

As the countdown to the start of the 2011 MotoGP season continues, the spotlight is intensifying on Valentino Rossi. The pressure created by the magical combination of two Italian legends, Rossi and Ducati, has got marketing and media machines going into overdrive. It has become quite frankly impossible not to write about it.

Rossi himself is managing the situation with great attention to detail. Firstly, with carefully selected media appearances, and secondly, with a carefully constructed media messages. So it came to pass that Rossi turned up on Italian TV, on a talk show called Chiambretti Night, in which he got the chance to talk about his shoulder, his rivals and the Ducati.

Rossi emphasized that his shoulder was still troubling him. Despite the surgery he had in November of 2010, one of the biceps tendons had still not healed correctly, leaving it a little short and leaving him with some weakness in the shoulder. Earlier in the week, at the presentation of Andrea Iannone's Speed Master Moto2 team, Alessio "Uccio" Salucci had told the press that Rossi's shoulder was recovering well, and that the nine-times World Champion would now be able to concentrate on improving the technical aspects of the Ducati, rather than just riding round his shoulder. But Rossi told Italian TV that he was still in pain from the injury, and that his doctor had told him that his shoulder was not fully recovered.

Naturally, Rossi was asked for his opinion of his rivals, and the Italian made sure he got his retaliation in first. He annointed Casey Stoner as favorite for the title, though he did so "only to jinx him," Rossi joked. He gave the Australian 10 points out of 10, saying that his speed was beyond question, but that Stoner lacked tactical acuity and racecraft. Rossi's comments on his former teammate Jorge Lorenzo left no room for doubt about the antipathy that exists between the two. "He has succeeded in uniting everyone, in the sense that everyone is united in their dislike of Lorenzo," the Italian quipped. He described the Spaniard - in barbed terms - as "not intelligent, intelligent is a big word, but cunning." Rossi rated Lorenzo as 9.5 out of 10 for the championship.

The Italian reiterated again that he would like to retire to World Superbikes once he is finished in MotoGP, though here, too, he damned the series with faint praise. "It like the Serie B," he said, comparing it to the Italian soccer league's second division. Rossi also scotched any talk of a switch to Formula 1, the prospects of which have been receding since Rossi decided to stay in MotoGP at the start of the 2006 season.

Rossi's appearance on Italian TV was carried off with the charm, with and candour that has enamoured legions of fans to the Italian. But along with the smiles, Rossi ensured he got in a few precisely aimed barbs for his rivals. Whether he can make those barbs hit home will depend on Rossi's shoulder, and on whether they can fix the Ducati. The test on Sunday and Monday at Qatar should tell us more, and the season opener a week later will leave no place to hide.

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Comments, because Stoner can relax and let the Ducati do the talking back to Rossi for him. If anything, such statements are more likely to harden Stoner's resolve to not make any mistakes this year, while being relaxed that the Ducati is handing out hard lessons.

Lorenzo may be slightly more stung - mass approval seems to be important to him off the track, but on it - he has a buttoned-down mind and he's learned how to play the percentages most astutely. I see this as less an attempt by Rossi to play 'mind games' with his chief opponents as a way of reassuring his fan base that not all is lost!

It must be relaxing for Casey..and let's hope that translates to him not being an uptight nutter in the first six laps, and he stops slinging it at the scenery, eh?..negating the need for him to harden his resolve so he can finally put a sustained championship run together and not rob his fan base of the reassurance they need.

Jorge..didn't look to me like he was playing the percentages astutely at Motegi..?

that necessitates the run hard from the start strategy that Stoner used on the Ducati if there's a chance of winning on it, from Rossi's results. It's easy to jump to conclusions about Stoner's strategy but harder to argue that any other strategy was effective in winning on that bike because nobody achieved that using any other strategy. We will all have the opportunity to assess that.

As for Lorenzo - 383 points gained says he had the handle on the season.

..and as you rightly say echoing Stoners words after LS08, "we'll see.."

Two questions..

1) When was the last time you saw Casey win from the third row or worse?

2) Will Lorenzo win 9 this season?

because Stoner is actually a very good qualifier (21 poles since 2007 compared to 14 for Rossi) and qualified only 4 times these past 4 seasons from the 3rd row (never worse)

I thought the point of qualifying was to qualify as high as possible. Stoner usually has enough in the bag to not even come close to the 3rd row.

How often do guys win from the 3rd row at all?

The point about qualifying or starting position on the grid was made in the context of Oscars about him running hard from the start and mine of him crashing too much last year..If as Oscar said, he is relaxed, which is debatable, will his race strategy change from last and previous years? The fact he will be riding a Honda may have an influence, there again maybe it won't. If he finds himself say sixth at the end of the first lap, I'd put my money on the old Caseys instincts taking over rather than him waiting, for fuel to be used and tyres to heat, staying in contention and THEN pushing to close and fight for the podium/win after SIX laps..not before. The same applies if he's in the lead.
The Ducati has issues turning for sure, but to absolve Stoner of all blame is sticking two fingers up to the laws of pyhsics and is particularly dull if you keep doing it time and again.

may be that we don't know if it comes from Casey of from the Ducati.
Should Rossi win on the Ducati without going very hard from the start, risking to crash, or should Stoner win on the Honda without risking to crash, then we would have an answer.

whether he buggers off into the distance on the RCV this year or not..Last year Casey was Casey and he crashed 5 times within 6 laps, that's a fact and nobody else came close riding a Ducati or not.
If he remains in denial thinking all his problems last year were bike related, he will IMO have learned nothing and be just as likely to make similar errors given the same laws of physics.
If however he has learnt he can't push at QP pace all the time, has a bit more respect for those laws and alters his race strategy accordingly when required, we may see a rider whose talent is beyond question, staying in the championship fight and finishing where he should..higher than 4th.
If Rossi finishes 5th or worse this season some will see that as vindication for Stoner, but what will be said if Val finishes 3rd and doesn't crash out of the races?
Only time will tell my friend.

"...what will be said if Val finishes 3rd and doesn't crash out of the races?"

That Rossi sorted out the front-end problem? That Ducati was more willing to work with Rossi than work with an exiting Stoner? I think that 2007 pretty much proved that Stoner COULD run QP pace from green.

Now, is that the only strategy that works? Probably not. Casey isn't well known for his racecraft. He is known for his blinding speed; we all have to play our strengths.

Sure..but to become stronger, or in this case a better more complete racer, you have to realise where your weaknesses lie and work to make them stronger, as in all sport and life in general. The man who is always offensive and shows no awareness of defence or weakness is vunerable.

Motegi was personal. Lorenzo wasn't playing the title odds and neither was Rossi worried about banging and faling on his leg or shoulder.

Can we have more of that please?

I apoligize, for whatever reason I cannot add new post, must use reply link.

Well, well, well, ol #46 is at it again. It's so hard to like this guy when he uses such juvenile tatics to insite his rivals. Yes, it is amusing to read and to wait for the inevitable retorts from his targets. But, he only shows himself to be nothing more than the court jester while he entertains the audience. This is a guy who wreaks of self consciousness and desperation. A clear sign that he is more than just a little worried about the lack of progress made so far at Ducati.
On the other hand this may also be the same Rossi who has time and time again over the years mock the opposition just out of sheer contempt. That anyone who even think they were superior to him in any way deserves a tongue lashing and ridicule. In the earlier days I would have written off an act like this as just youthful indiscretion and overzealousness. But Rossi is getting on in age and should know that time does eventually catch up with us all and the only thing he is acheiving is strengthing the determination of those who wish to defeat him. I beleive these actions will only help to seal his own fate. Mr Rossi, Icarus would like his wings back now.

I've seen all the write ups of the this interview on GPone, etc...

David you're the only one to draw the contrast between what Uccio said and what Rossi said (it did not even strike me at the time). I think it's fair to say that's he wants as much breathing room as he can make for himself with a bike that's not working that well or that he's not adapted to yet.

The only point I have to make, not speaking, italian is that, it's difficult to completely understand the all the Nuances in speach, body language etc and put them into context via a transilatio. That said there were some pronouced barbs in there for sure. Lorenzo's not nearly as charming or as smart - but he's so damn fast and as rossi has said in the past - Lorenzo is a rock and mind games don't work on him. He's just speaking the obvious on Stoner - but I think that Stoner older, smarter and more dedicated now - and obvioulsy very very happy with the bike won't have as many mental lapses as in the past. We'll see.

Finally, I would not even bother trying to read into what's being said - if the damn Racing would start already...

is proportional to Italy's national debt. One would have expected him to either remain silent, re Stoner, or at least not make any criticism of his riding/racecraft, considering that he can't
ride competitively the bike that has clocked the most 800cc victories to date and was his nemesis.

Maybe " magnaninmous " doesn't exist in Italian..........

It does, magnanimous = magnanimo but surely it does not apply to Rossi. Have you been following his carrier at all? If so, you should know that already! ;D

Coming to the Duc, Rossi and Stoner have clearly two different styles. They need two quite different bikes to express themselves at their top and yes, maybe Stoner is really better than Rossi at been very fast on radically different bikes. Or maybe not, because to go really fast on the 2010 Duc he had to crash a lot.

Rossi and his crew will try to transform that bike into something that fits Rossi abilities, condition and goal. Going fast is only one of the elements needed to win the championship - the real goal. I am pretty sure that Ducati corse and Rossi's team are not going be able to get something good enough for the 2011 but I am curious to see how they will manage in 2012.

Maybe we will see Stoner starting his reign on the Honda and in another nine years we will all agree that he was indeed a better pilot than Rossi. Meanwhile, maybe he will also gain a massive amount of popularity and we will all say that Stoner managed to outperform Rossi on the media too.

Waiting for all that to happen, personally, I am really going to enjoy season 2011!

The same as the previous ones, VR certainly attempts to drag his main rivals' thought attentions. I 'd rather say that this is a very confusing Gimmick and mind game since only Rossi have been able to identify what the real meanings behind those statements... The rest are only trying to interpret indeed,,,, Even his slut(edward term), Uccio could not tell what Rossi is really saying ... Bring On The Breathtaking races over this season...

that said that about Uccio - but it's true - apparently.

Although Rossi is pretty lucky to have someone he trusts and a good friend that is handling his affairs. I would not not mind hanging in the paddock with VR and driving the motorhome as a Job - so a good deal for both

Right, but I believe Edwards referred to him as Rossi's "bitch". It was surely said in jest either way. And I agree, its not a bad job to have. I'm sure there is mutual respect between VR and Uccio. Most of what Edwards says is all in good fun.

Pretty much impossible to read any sense into the mire of contradictory utterings from the Ducati camp. Roll on the racing, I don't think I've had a greater sense of anticipation in the pre-season for a long, long time - it's killing me!
It would be nice for the spectacle if Rossi could do the seemingly impossible and be up front from the outset, but I fear Uccio's shoulder may be the problem this year, under the strain of Vale crying on it.
Best of luck to all when the red light goes off.

Edit. Being newly registered I suppose I should say g'day to all, and I look forward to participating in the intelligent discussions which happen here.
Keep up the good work all.

"He has succeeded in uniting everyone, in the sense that everyone is united in their dislike of Lorenzo,"

LMAO!!!! Well. You gotta love all that extra stuff the man throws in there. The things he says then does on a track brings more people in. Gives it tension, whether you want him to win or lose. Racing is not always about just the race. When you have good rivalries it always makes for better racing and drama. I cannot wait. Been watching races over and over until I feel like i have been there at the track. Time for the season to start!

Thanks again David for this methadone hit to hold me over. This motogpheroin addiction is killing me. You give all the information I do not find too many other places.

Your Rossi quote was the one thing I took exception to. He can say whatever he wants about their talent, speed or lack thereof, but who "we" Vale?! Cuz it ain't me!

"Rossi joked. He gave the Australian 10 points out of 10, saying that his speed was beyond question..."
only rossi can best understand stoner's speed and talent especially now that he's struggling on the ducati. i'm still waiting though for burgess' "miracle in 80secs"

With his track record Rossi has earned the right to comment on his rivals. What strikes about his comments on Lorenzo is the lack of respect for the person. I don't know Lorenzo on a personal basis but I don't recall him ever saying anything derogatory about Rossi.
Rating SBK as a second division league is uncalled for. Correct me if I'm wrong, he has never taken part in SBK race before. The series are different and each one require specific style and set of skills. Not too many racers have been able to master both. How many racers have been both SBK and MotoGP champions? Biaggi may not be Rossi but is a top rider and he finally made it to the top after 4 to 5 years.
I'm a Yamaha guy and have learned to appreciate Rossi when he switched to the M1. Now that he's departed, for no valid reason IMO, I'm slowly developing some antipathy towards him. I feel like he never really repected the opposition. When someone is fast enough to challenge him, he prefers to butt head.

Rossi's so called 'mind games' are starting to get a little shallow if you ask me. The harsher his comments, the more you know he is not so sure about is own position. I think Lorenzo/Stoner will be rather smiling than shivering.

These are the answers of the questions Submitted by wosideg :
1. Stoner will never be able to do it, if he wins the title this season, then many will say that he only could win title when he is on the fastest machine. it is true in some respects, but it is also wrong for he is a talented rider.
2. Neither will lorenzo repeat his 9 wins in a single season.
I bet spies will have more wins than him, and who knows????? that spies can be selfish and against lorenzo like what rossi did, it really will happen cuz spies is going to outride lorenzo in more races, and then an unavoidable scratch cannot be prevented between the two... remember Indianapolis 2010, how can spies using a satellite bike beat the championship leader, that time lorenzo said the slow M1( meaning M1 is slow ) is like a 250cc bike, how can it be slow if spies took a pole using it, Let us just see it, it is only my own opinions, never try to offend others. I just tell the truth except for my pure opinions,

The thing is or you make history with "if" and "but" and then you can argue about Stoner/Rossi/Hopkins/Bridgestone and "what if Pedrosa didn't bring Hayden down or what if Carlos Checa had sausage for breakfast". And then the sky is the limit.
Part of the commentators go that way but the second true beauty of this site (the first are of course David posts) is the people who talks about racing and motorbikes: what really happened.

Stoner won a WC and that's a fact. Most of the stuff about him & Ducati are speculations. If he will win another WC with Honda good for him. If he won't he still has a WC more than most of the others (including me :).
Lorenzo may not win 9 again.... still he did last year. Hats off to him. The number of points you score has nothing to do with likeability of the guy. You may like him or not (I don't) but it would be unfair to dismiss his results. Yes Vale and Dani had injuries but that's part of the show. If you start with but then when Vale won Capirossi fell down, Biaggi split with the girlfriend and... so on.

Back to Rossi he was in a satyrical show with a famous host (Chiambretti) who is all but political correct and I am quite sure that his statements are to be read in that perspective and in that language/culture where mocking is not meant to be offensive.

But at the end of the day it's really about racing. Ben is arguably a nicer person than JLo (serious, down to heart, ....) but if the spaniard will score more points than him my congratulations will go to Jorge (and my smile to Ben :)

I am just not so sure Lorenzo is not a nice guy. When he is at work and wins, he feels on top of the world and wants the whole world to know. But almost everyone who's talked with him face to face (Toby Moody, Nick Harris, even Guy Martin) is surprised by what a nice guy he really is. I am no Lorenzo fan in any way, but I think his dark side is often exaggerated.

you should all just Shut up! or loose the reason motogp is what it is right now is because of one man...had Rossi not been the personality on and off the track gp would be a whole lot more like wsbk(i love sbk) but the stands need filling...if more riders were actually likeable for other reasons other then there talent on the track it would be another story...there are some i.e. Niky Hayden, Bautista etc. but if all we had was Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa all twats off the track, i would turn the channel as soon as the race was over and could care less about post race anything....infront must be licking there lips waiting for Rossi to come over...then you will see full stands at wsbk races....again....shut up and wait!!....(know that im saying shut up with love in my heart)

MotoGP or any other form of racing should not be about one guy. There is no denying that great as he is, his time will pass and MotoGP will suffer a lull for a while and then it will be good times again with heroes to admire and "villains" not to..

A few years back he would have quipped,'neither Stoner nor Lorenzo will ever win a race again'. Harken back to Qatar and Gibernau. He sure hasn't got the spirit to say it now,simply because he knows it will blow up in his face.
Mind you,he best stay flippant and complain about his shoulder because the unmentioned riders,Ben,Dani,Simmo,Dovi,Hiro,Colin,even Alvaro and dare I mention within Ducati ranks,Hector,Randy and Nicky must also be weighing heavily on the mind of the one who once was regarded as unbeatable.
Should Lorenzo and Stoner have disastrous seasons (jinx don't work with those two),he still has to step up big time to beat the unmentioned.
I also agree with an earlier commenter.Lorenzo has never publically said anything malicious about nor toward Rossi. Rossi's got a beef with him because the humble,likeable newcommer was simply too much dog for him as the seasons progressed.
I found Lorenzo's post race antics irritating,but then again Rossi's were worse.
Lorenzo was also not afforded the luxury of the 'burnouts' etc.He had 6 engines to conserve.
Nevertheless,1 day at a time.Look forward to the Qatar test.

-SBK IS second division world motorcycling.
-Stoner IS incredibly fast or bust.
-Lorenzo IS incredibly fast but not very friendly/popular.
-Rossi IS incredibly fast and a loud-mouth.

All fact if you ask me.

IMO, that comment was made as a jab at Biaggi and his title. IIRC, Rossi had never said anything of WSBK second rate right until this week.

stopped being "unpleasant" when talking about Rossi. But Rossi still cannot stop, I remember his comment about 2010 being the worst possible year for him with Lorenzo and Biaggi world champions.
Worse temper that Biaggi, that's quite a performance, hats off to the doctor!
In the same interview Vale said that he saw Berlusconi once and that the prime minister told him that he was the "world champion of niceness"...not quite sure about that.

if it is directed at Biaggi. Thing is, second rate or not, Biaggi has a WC under his belt now, and he does not. Ben has one, Collin has two... maybe Marco could get one too..

pushed the Ducati past its limits on all occasions he wouldn't have a factory ride with Honda. Its also worth mentioning that his family had a lot riding on his performance as he was making his way up so its too easy to see why he doesnt hide his hand and runs for the hills for all hes worth. Dani is still the most under appreciated rider in Motogp. He wont finish less than 3rd this year unless he gets tossed and breaks something again.

"Stoner lacked tactical acuity and racecraft"
Buddy, you can have all the racecraft you want, if yer nearly 2 seconds off the pace of your rivals, your not going to be able to do much.

He should focus his energy on his riding style. Stoner won 3 races with that unturnable ducati last year so cant use that as an excuse. Burgess, your 90 seconds must surely be up at this stage? haha

But seriously, this is a very distasteful and disrespectful interview, coming from a 9 time champ no less, the sports greatest, allegedly. The pressure is getting to him, like it did in the whole of 07 and Valencia 06.

Roll on Qatar!

I thought it was a light hearted TV show. It's far to easy to read too much into these kind of comments. Nobody gave it a second thought when Stoner and JLo didn't include Rossi in their list of contenders(yet on the same bike Casey has been favourite 4 years running on the duke) it's a much mind games as anything.

I think there is a mutual respect between Dani and Rossi, There always seems to be a sense that they understand each other.
Agree with above Dani is massively underrated, in 2007 the honda was the 3rd best bike on the grid(with the yam getting better each year and duke going the opposite way), he's worked hard and was easily the top rider in the second half last season till his brake failure.. I think he will have too much for the other honda guys. He is still recovering from injury and his mo is too not show his true pace to the last minute.. wonder where he got that idea??

Rossi and JB have been contradicting each other since they joined ducati, they have history. Uccio joining in just confuses the matter even more. It's almost impossible to judge Rossi's true position/potential, and suspect whether his pace is good or bad he would like it to stay like that.

Those of you who seem to think that MotoGP is all about Rossi are way off the mark. The best MotoGP/500cc racing I ever saw was in the late 1980's/early 1990's. Lawson, Gardner, Rainey, Schwantz and joining them later Mick Doohan. Nothing in the Rossi era has remotely compared to the quality of the racing back then. Rossi may be a great rider but I for one dislike his juvenile post-race antics and completely unnecessary snide comments about his rivals in the press. The cult-like adoration of Rossi by many of his fans is not good for MotoGP in the long term in my opinion. I don't dislike Rossi as a person because I don't know the guy personally, nor any of the other riders. I am only interested in MotoGP because it is the pinnacle of two-wheel motorsport, not because of any rider's personality or results.

Incidentally, Rossi typically attacks people who he sees as a threat to him on the track. Maybe this is why he doesn't attack Pedrosa, because he doesn't see him as a credible championship threat, or at least not as major threats like Stoner and Lorenzo.

Not always, he had his fair share of run ins with Max and Sete and neither were a threat and if I'm being pedantic neither has Casey been in the last few seasons. Although that may change this year and of course whether Rossi will be a threat on the duke has also yet to be answered.

The last few seasons? The 2008 season was between Rossi and Stoner, and it's just the last two years that Stoner's challenge has faded, for various reasons. In any case, the threat to Rossi is more than just on the track. Right now Rossi's performance on the Ducati is making Rossi look ordinary and Stoner a hero. If Rossi is unable to master the Ducati this year it will be a dent in Rossi's reputation and legacy, and you can be sure that Rossi cares about that quite a lot.

I agree with motogpmd, in Rossi's perception Stoner has surely been a threat, after all he's one of the handful who have proven they can out pace him over race distance.

Not sure what you mean by a record on Stoner. It was a record total at the time (since eclipsed by Lorenzo in 2010), slightly higher than Stoner's record in 2007 (373 vs 367) but the gap to from Stoner to Rossi in 2007 was bigger than the gap from Rossi to Stoner in 2008 (126 vs 93). So 2008 was not a record gap first to second, and if I recall correctly, Stoner has the record for the highest score ever achieved by a rider in second place.

It reads what it says record points total in 2008. To be honest I hadn't looked at the extra stats, when you look at them it's pretty emphatic. Total points swing of over 200 in one season youch.. The points total should, strictly speaking, be divided by number of races, as it is considerably easier to score more points in 19 races than 18 or 13. Making, I think, Doohan top and Rossi second. Still all 3 great racers and deserve huge credit, for their achievements.

Good luck all this weekend.