Casey Stoner slams Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha return
Casey Stoner has criticised Valentino Rossi’s swift return to Yamaha after the Italian legend recently confirmed he will quit Ducati after a disastrous two-year stint with the Bologna factory.
The 33-year-old has been a shock failure to perform on board a factory Desmosedici and will return to Yamaha next season to partner bitter Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo.
When Rossi arrived at Ducati in a blaze of publicity at the end of 2010, his move was heralded as the start of a golden era for the Bologna factory.
Ducati was desperate for the nine-times world champion to add to his record tally of 79 premier class victories having gone without a world title since Stoner’s domination of the 2007 campaign.
Big name riders like Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden were not able to even get close to matching Stoner’s results, who won 23 races in a four-year stint at Ducati.
Rossi is the highest profile rider to fail to master the Desmosedici and Stoner believes his return to Yamaha is a humbling one as he tries to recapture former glory alongside Lorenzo.
Rossi guided the Japanese factory to the most successful period in its history when he won 46 races and four world titles between 2004 and 2010.
But speaking to MCN shortly before Rossi’s return to Yamaha was confirmed in the short MotoGP summer break, Stoner said: “I think he's eating enough humble pie at the moment.
"I just feel completely sorry for Ducat that he has gone there and done nothing but complain about the bike and obviously they now have a bike that can do well because he keeps getting beaten by Nicky and Hector (Barbera) and that is nothing to be proud of.
"We heard all this stuff about how he was going to lead Ducati to greatness and we haven't seen any results.”
Rossi’s talent and renowned development skills were seen as the perfect combination to make the finicky Desmosedici a serious title contender again.
Yet in 27 appearances to date, Rossi has only been able to deliver two podium finishes and his humbling failure to get even remotely close to emulating Stoner has only enhanced the Australian’s reputation.
Stoner also relishes ramming taunts by Rossi and his legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess back down their throats.
Rossi and Burgess were both adamant they could fix Ducati’s long-standing front-end issues that Stoner frequently complained about towards the end of his tenure on a factory Desmosedici.
And Rossi enraged Stoner towards the end of 2010 when he said it was impossible to gauge the performance of Ducati because the 26-year-old wasn’t putting in maximum effort having already clinched a big money switch to Repsol Honda.
But Stoner told MCN: “They ate their words from day one. Jerry saying that it would take him 80 seconds to fix that bike and that it was a simple issue and now they have had pretty much two years on the thing have not made any inroads.
"Valentino got his best result in the dry virtually in his first race on the Ducati supposedly with shoulder injuries and I haven't seen any improvement over the past two years and this is disappointing.
"I feel sorry for the people behind that bike. Valentino obviously doesn't want to push limits and ride a bike that is not perfect. He has admitted that. If he's had a bike that is that good in Yamaha before and hasn't had to push when the bike is not perfect then God knows how good that bike is.
"Obviously he doesn't want to put the effort in with Ducati. It is disappointing for them that they're doing all they can and he is not even trying to get the best out of it.
"There are certain riders in this paddock who have considered themselves test riders who can lead a manufacturer in the right direction and Valentino has certainly proved himself not to be the case with Ducati. It is just obvious that he needs an extremely good bike to be able to win.
"It is blatantly obvious that he can't win with a Ducati and make it competitive so he's looking for the first option out. He said he wanted to finish his career with them and now he wants to jump ship.”
Stoner also mocked the ‘let’s stick together; slogan recently used by Rossi on his special AGV helmet used at his recent home race in Mugello.
"He should (stay with Ducati) when recently he was wearing "let's stick together" on his helmet.
"The amount of times that guy has had to eat his words is not funny but people still forgive him for it,“ added Stoner, who heads to this weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP round trailing Lorenzo by 32-points.
For more on Rossi’s move back to Yamaha, see a special report in the August 15 issue of MCN.