Casey Stoner has said his domination of the 2011 MotoGP world championship was made sweeter after the criticism he faced from Valentino Rossi and Jerry Burgess when he was riding for Ducati.
Stoner won 10 races last season to clinch his second MotoGP world title as he delivered Honda’s first premier class world title since 2006.
While the 26-year-old was enjoying unrivalled success on the RC212V machine, Rossi struggled severely to even compete for the rostrum on the Ducati Desmosedici that Stoner vacated at the end of 2010.
Ducati failed to win a race for the first time in the 800cc era after Stoner won 23 races in his four-year stint on board a Desmosedici machine.
But at the end of 2010 he was stung by criticism from Rossi who said it was impossible to assess the potential of the Desmosedici because the Aussie wasn’t pushing hard enough.
Burgess also riled Stoner when he said he could dial out Ducati’s persistent front-end issue in 80 seconds.
In a recent exclusive interview with MCN, Stoner said: “The whole thing with Valentino saying I hadn't been pushing hard enough was nothing new. At one stage it was the Ducati was the best bike on the grid and I had the best tyres and everything else.
"This talk followed me and plagued me throughout my time at Ducati until finally Valentino got on the bike and showed that nothing different happened to when (Marco) Melandri got on the bike or Nicky (Hayden) got on it.
"To be honest it was funny when he said that but it didn't give me any more determination because I find my own determination.
"I knew that when he got on that bike he was not going to be any faster than me. I was 100% sure of that. He complained about his shoulder injury at the start of the season but he got his best result with his shoulder injury.
"As soon as his shoulder injury went he got worse. The excuses didn’t stop until the end of this season when they just had to start admitting that they didn't know what direction to go.”
Rossi was flummoxed all season by trying to solve a chronic lack of front-end feel with the GP11 His 12 crashes were a personal record in MotoGP and double his previous worst crash tally in 2007 on Yamaha’s factory YZR-M1.
He tried three radical new bikes during the season including experimenting with carbon and aluminium chassis but still only managed a solitary rostrum in France.
Stoner added: “The reason this championship does taste sweet has a lot to do with Valentino and Jerry and the criticism they gave us that we couldn't develop a bike and didn't know what we were doing. Clearly they are ten times more confused than we ever were about what direction to go in.
"They wanted this and that and they got what they asked for and nothing has worked, they haven't improved anything. They are still no better off than they were at the beginning of the season to the point where they are wondering which way to go.
"At least we knew what direction we wanted to go, we just didn't have the funding to get it and they've got the funding now but they still haven't gone in the right direction.”