British riders who raced newly crowned MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner early in his career paid tribute to the Aussie who kick-started his career on UK tracks.
“I raced against him all year in the 2000 Aprilia Supersteen season. He rode an OGK-backed bike. I was riding for Kickstart Motorcycles. First time I ever saw him was at Mallory Park when he passed me sideways into the Hairpin.
“We had loads of scraps but I remember one time when me, him and Chaz Davies all banged into each other going down Craner.
“There was some good rivalry between us. He was a good lad. He got a good break and was off, but then he was good enough to go to GPs.”
Steve Patrickson, multiple British 125 and 250 champion
“Stoner was the best 125 rider I ever raced against, except for Loris Capirossi. You could tell straight away that Stoner was going to make it. He was just so special on a bike.
“What did it was his first lap. He had so much confidence in his own ability that he was gone from the start. I never did manage to beat the little bugger!”
I raced against him in 2001 and he was shit-hot from the very start.
The bike looked nothing special but it was really well set up with good suspension too. I had a similar Honda that was run by Mark Hodgson (Neil’s dad) under the RCB Motorsports banner.
I won the title but, myself, Chaz Davies and Casey missed races to do the Telefonica Movistar series in Spain.
Eight of us did a test on identical bikes at Catalunya but I crashed twice and Casey ended up a tenth quicker than me.
When we got to the next test, Chaz Davies and I still had stock bikes but a Spaniard had got Casey a ’99 A-kit bike and that was it.
He won races and we struggled but that was it for Casey. He was on his way but we’ve been buddies ever since.
The first time I saw Casey was at Donington Park and he wasn’t hanging around! Up to that point, from what I’d seen of the opposition, I was pretty confident I’d win the Aprilia Superteen title in 2000.
We had some good battles and stopped talking to each other mid-season.
We both raced in the 2001 British 125 Championship but I didn’t really get going until mid-season. By then Leon Camier had rattled him a couple of times then I rattled him a few times toward the end of the year - but he took some stopping.
Some time later in 125GPs we started to talk to each other again when we both realised we knew no one else in the paddock!
We’re mates now and he’s been really helpful for me with Ducati. His influence hasn’t hurt.
When I was at Mugello recently he drove 300kms to come and help me out.
In MotoGP Casey gets the job done. There’s no fuss but he’s a real determined bastard. He’s also very talented and, when he’s on a roll, he takes some stopping.