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Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

I spent some of the festive break reading Casey Stoner’s autobiography, Pushing the Limits. It’s an enjoyable book and should be required reading for any aspiring kid racer (presuming they’ve been off the bike long enough to learn to read) and for any parents of same.

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

Stoner’s abilities and his success confirm the verity of the 10,000 hour rule which suggests that’s the minimum amount of time you need to spend doing any pursuit if you want to be world-beating good at it. In other words, there are no short cuts on the way to the top – it’s just work, work and more work.

The young Casey Stoner

As a kid, Stoner did pretty much nothing except ride bikes. And the struggles through which his family went to ensure that he kept climbing the ladder make for uncomfortable reading, especially if you’re a parent. Would you go to the same ends? I’m not sure I would.

As is usual in autobiographies (at least, in my opinion), it’s the childhood years that are the most fascinating. You get to fully understand why Stoner was the way he was when he was racing Grands Prix. After that, there’s plenty of interesting stories you won’t have heard before and he also manages to settle a few scores, because, after all, that’s half the point of writing an autobiography.

Among those who get it in the neck are Michelin, who he says didn’t look after him so well when he graduated to MotoGP in 2006, and Randy Mamola, who was briefly involved in managing his career.

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner
Stoner navigates Laguna Seca’s corkscrew during his rookie MotoGP season, 2006

Perhaps the most illuminating part of the book is the tale of his very first race, as a four-year-old, at Hatcher’s dirt track on the Gold Coast. As Stoner lines up at the start aboard his PW50, he starts to cry. There are harsh looks from other parents and race officials, all of them no doubt jumping to the conclusion that Stoner’s mum and dad are the kind of desperate racing parents who force their kids into doing something they really don’t want to do.

In fact Stoner is shedding tears for a different reason – he is upset because people are looking at him. Born and bred in the middle of nowhere, he’s not used to all the attention and he hates it. A few years later he was bullied at school, so his parents took him out and home-schooled him, further divorcing him from the rough and tumble of normal life.

Dealing with fame in MotoGP

Fast forward 17 years or so and Stoner is in the Donington paddock, riding his scooter to the Ducati garage to start practice. There are kids and grown-ups pleading for autographs as he weaves his way through the crowd and he’s not signing one of them. The crowd isn’t happy. And neither is Stoner – he hates crowds.

Stoner is (or was) a hugely talented motorcycle racer who abhors being in the limelight. The paradox of his career was that he was doing something he loved, but this required him to do something he hated. Thus success was always half a nightmare for him and eventually he had had enough.

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

Stoner isn’t a born PR man like Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez, so he never publically explained the reasons for his behaviour. Thus fans merely thought he was rude and unprofessional, rather than simply a rabbit caught in the limelight, hating every minute until he clipped down his visor and escaped into another world.

I had my own moments with Stoner during the years he was in GPs, from 2002 to 2012. His talent dazzled me from the moment he turned up at Welkom in April, qualifying on the second row for only his second race on a 250. A few months later I wrote that “he has the stamp of greatness upon him”, and he was still only 16-years-old.

Casey Stoner’s MotoGP career
Seven seasons
38 victories
39 pole positions
29 fastest laps
World Champion in 2007 (Ducati) and 2011 (Honda)

Our relationship went downhill when he joined Ducati, for whom I was writing press propaganda at the time. I knew I was in trouble when I heard him mutter to someone, “I’ve had words with Livio [Suppo] about that bloke”. Oh hell, I thought, this is going to be a nightmare season.

In fact it wasn’t. Stoner was always professional and always interesting when I sought quotes from him following each practice session and race. Despite that, after a few races I decided to confront him about his apparent dislike for me. “Casey, have you got a problem with me?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “I have.” Oh dear.

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner
Qatar 2007: Stoner wins his first race for Ducati

Turned out he was angry about some words I’d written about him crashing when he was riding 250s. Well, he did crash that 250 quite a lot, so…

He was also angry with something I’d supposedly written about him when he was doing the British 125 championship in 2001, but because I’d not written a single word about the British 125 championship since I left Motor Cycle News at the end of 1989, I told him he must’ve got me confused with someone else.

Understanding the mentality

After that, our relationship became slightly less fraught. After he won the 2007 and 2008 British GPs, only to be greeted by a booing crowd – angry that Rossi hadn’t won – I started quizzing him during one-to-one interviews about his relationship with fame. This is the bombshell he dropped on me at Sepang in October 2008.

“I am here to race and this is what I want to do and the rest of it is just murder to me. Some people enjoy the media but I hate attention, I hate people talking about me. It’s really something I dislike, it’s difficult for me to handle. I’d really just prefer to be a little mouse in a corner, forgotten about.”

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

But I think I only fully understood Stoner when I spoke to Ian Newton, the former 250 racer who runs the Aprilia Superteens series, which was Stoner’s first step on the roadracing ladder. Newton – without an axe to grind – had only good things to say about Stoner.

“Casey was an absolutely fantastic kid. Now I tell all the Superteenies – all sunglasses and hair-gel – that when he was practicing he would come in, take his crash helmet off, then drop on his knees and start working on his bike.

“When he won Superteen races he used to ride round with his hands on the handlebars, so I told him that he should wave to the crowd. He said, ‘no, I’ll feel a real dick’. So he was riding around, hiding inside his helmet, embarrassed with what he was doing, embarrassed with how good he was.

“I was sat with him in his motorhome at the 2006 British GP and you couldn’t have found a more miserable kid. At this point he’d had a fall-out with his dad, so his parents were around and Adriana [his future wife] wasn’t with him yet, so he was in Europe all on his own.

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner
The last win: Phillip Island, 2011

“He sat there and said ‘as much as I love motorbikes I never ever, ever thought about the publicity side of it and I hate it’. He talked about jacking it in then. The kid can’t cope with the publicity and then he gets slaughtered by the press and booed by fans. I always knew he wouldn’t hang around long.”

Sure, Stoner wasn’t the ideal ambassador for the sport, but who cares? One of the most important things in life is to know yourself and to be yourself. Do we really want every rider to give himself a PR work-over, learning to always say the right thing and always smile at the camera? I know I don’t.

I just want riders to race like their lives depend on it and then to be themselves, for better or for worse. Stoner wasn’t made for fame; it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t handle it. Sure he moaned a bit, but on the bike he was a genius and off the bike he was always frank and fascinating. You can’t ask for much more than that.

More from Mat Oxley
2013 MotoGP season review (Part 1)
2013 MotoGP season review (Part 2)
A changing of the guard

motogp race  Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

Add your comments

60 comments on Inside the mind of Casey Stoner

  1. Iain, 15 January 2014 11:04

    Fantastic piece – Stoner is just Stoner and people cant accept that

  2. Abel I Cruz Ayuso (@FranzS4), 15 January 2014 11:04

    I’m still not sure. I only have third party info, but from y own personal and professional experience (in another field) I have always seen that if you don’t adapt to situations, you go nowhere. I know it’s very easy to say without telling about my background and my childhood (not easy at all in some aspects but then again, it could’ve been way worse), but this just reaffirms Casey didn’t want to play the game and sometimes seemed he wanted the rest not to play it either or to changes it altogether. I didn’t like him then and don’t like him yet…

  3. Peter Spiers, 15 January 2014 11:38

    I was never a fan of his but boy could he wring a bike’s neck.
    I have sneaking feeling he’ll come back one day.
    Stoner vs Marques both on Repsol Honda’s …..

  4. Jimmy, 15 January 2014 11:54

    Casey is who he is…a racer at the top of his game….just because he didn’t play the press games he shouldn’t have got the adverse publicity he got from a lot of the racing punters…….for me he was the only one who could vamp the big Ducati…that will always be my abiding visual of Casey.

  5. Hellstrom, 15 January 2014 12:29

    “I have sneaking feeling he’ll come back one day.
    Stoner vs Marques both on Repsol Honda’s …..”

    Repsol Honda’s what? Or, did you mean Repsol Hondas, as in, more than one Repsol Honda?

  6. John T, 15 January 2014 13:26

    Good article, sometimes people can’t be the all singing, all dancing life and soul fo the party, we have to accept them for the way they are. This next point might sound a bit barbed, but I seem to remember some of your articles (I think it was for BIKE magazine) where you accused Stoner of running back to his mum, the time he took sick during 09, maybe its things like these that he was annoyed about, I’m surprised you haven’t done a book about Stoner yet, or Lorenzo.

  7. Mark smith, 15 January 2014 13:52

    I didn’t realise Casey Stoner was such a shy guy and your explanation makes thing a lot easier to understand. It is a very fine balance when raising children between sheltering them too much, therefore not allowing them to develop their mental and social capacities, and over exposing them to the realities of life.
    Perhaps we need to be reminded of however we bring up our children then we are creating the foundation for their future. Casey’s story is perhaps a good example of how difficult it can be for parents sometimes, especially those who don’t interface socially for whatever reason.
    Thanks for the insight in to the mind of Casey Stoner and I wish him every good fortune in his future

  8. Wogboy, 15 January 2014 13:54

    Casey is a pure ‘Aussie’ from the country. It’s difficult to explain to those who haven’t experienced the Aussie outback culture. It’s a humble and hard-working culture where being a ‘show pony’ is very unnatural and counterintuitive.

    Many of his strengths come from this background; his honest, no bullsh.. appraisal of situations (for example, when he’ll admit that he was outridden, or when he’ll criticise Michelin, Ducati, Rossi etc.), hard work and humility. Perhaps many of his limitations (for example, discomfort with being the centre of attention, lack of patience for political correctness) also stem from his background.

    However, he wouldn’t be what he is without that tough, humble background. It’s forged his character to what it is; a fearless, determined and skilled motorcycle rider,

  9. Daryl, 15 January 2014 13:58

    Another example of a kid growing up without actually doing the being a kid bit and so fully developing as a person.

  10. erwin, 15 January 2014 14:07

    a fantastic book to read.in 1day i got through it.and lot of respect for him and also for him stop racing now.it is his live anyway

  11. Barry Glading, 15 January 2014 15:15

    Casey always seemed to me to be cut from the same cloth as Lawson, Rainey, Schwantz, Gardner, Doohan.
    In a way, racing changed with the coming of Rossi, and big money, and personality and political correctness became more important than being a fantastic, committed, hard racer who made their name racing a motorbike and not necessarily being nice to the world off it. Rossi, true, was/is both, and could well have raced with the previous generation greats, but Casey would have been perfect then. I think he thinks so too.

  12. Bill Reeve, 15 January 2014 15:50

    Casey seems very fragile I hope he doesn’t have mental health problems in later life.

  13. Feruz27, 15 January 2014 15:58

    CS is always my no.1 rider, i think he is super focus in his winning & passion in racing his bike, when u are 100% into something u dont have time to be fake & bulls*** in front of camera to raise publicity etc. For me his riding skill is the best. U r the best CS27..!

  14. Mat Oxley, 15 January 2014 16:19

    Hi John T, twas someone else who wrote about CS running back to his mum in 09. Def not me. This is what I wrote before his lactose intolerance was diagnosed

    The world will soon find out the truth about Stoner – is his mystery sickness a minor ailment or a career ender? The 2007 MotoGP champ is due to return to racing at the Portuguese GP after taking a ten-week rest period following July’s British GP. There’s been no official reason for the Australian’s absence, so the rumour mill has naturally assumed the worst.
    Many people within the paddock believe Stoner’s career is already over, that he won’t turn up at Estoril because he’s had enough of the hassles of racing. ‘I am here to race and the rest is just murder to me,’ Stoner said earlier this year.
    Others believe the Aussie will silence his critics with a victorious comeback. ‘You watch, Casey won’t have lost a tenth of a second,’ says Rizla Suzuki boss Paul Denning.
    Denning has a point. Stoner is the world’s fastest rider straight out of the box. He has a phenomenal ability to roar out of the pits on Friday and break the lap record five laps later. And the gritty little Aussie will be burning to make the rumour mongers look stupid at Estoril.
    Then again, maybe he really is sick. Back in June the 23-year-old suggested he might be suffering from burnout, the result of his 19 year racing career. Some medical experts believe Stoner is suffering from chronic-fatigue syndrome, triggered by the virus that laid him low at the Catalan GP

  15. Mat Oxley, 15 January 2014 16:34

    Glad that most people now seem to respect Casey for being the person he is, rather than complaining about him so much when he was racing. Casey’s biggest problem with fans was that he didn’t want to be a pop star when so many riders think they are pop stars! As Barry G said, he was more in the mould of the 1980s stars, especially Eddie Lawson, who also refused to play the media game.

  16. Rob Elwell, 15 January 2014 17:18

    Plenty of people had an “unusual” childhood yet adapted to the world’s demands in adult life. My recollection of Stoner is that he was great at setting laptimes right out of the box, but not much of a racer. In 2008 Rossi simply dismantled him and his title challenge, particularly at Laguna and then at Brno. Unfortunately his physical fortitude was always suspect as well, for whatever reason. His sarcastic response when a fellow competitor (Rossi) attempted to apologise for a duff move at Jerez in 2011 was odious.

  17. chris williams, 15 January 2014 17:46

    I was neither warm nor cold about CS but as well as his amazing talent there could be no doubting his intelligence from the quality of the comments he did make.

  18. N. Weingart, 15 January 2014 17:56

    Can’t fault a guy, let alone a genius, for being different. Amazing to hear about another hurtle Casey overcame to race like he did.

  19. Hellstrom, 15 January 2014 18:33

    Cracks were beginning to show in him in 2007, I think.

    When he progressed from being a young rider who’d won a few races, to one that had a championship to win. With all the pressure that comes with that. That’s pressure from everywhere, people who were fans expecting him to win, people who weren’t hoping he’d fail. Plus, Ducati and all the sponsors who were paying him to ride that red bike.

    I think 2008 was when all that weight of expectation may have started to take its toll on the lad. If you can remember all the carrying on when somebody would have the bad manners to be on the race track at the same time as him in practice, along with all the constant moaning about stuff when he perhaps should have been concentrating on something else.

    It would seem that he didn’t have the mental make up to enable him to carry all that load. Given the details that Mr. Oxley has given us here, with regards to his upbringing, it’s perhaps not too surprising.

    Without doubt, though, he’s one of the greatest riders ever to sit on a racing motorbike. In terms of raw pace and abilitly. But, he’s just not the complete competitor that some of his on track rivals definitely are.

  20. Dunkelbach, 15 January 2014 19:38

    @Hellstrom:
    Dear grammar stickler, please go back to Wikipedia, they need you there.

  21. David Evans, 15 January 2014 19:39

    Well said Mat, all I wanted was for Casey to give me a world title and 2007 was nearly as good as the Smart/Hailwood wins
    I only need him to be a great rider not my entertainment manager. Hurry up with a Bayliss book.

  22. Peter Spiers, 15 January 2014 20:20

    Thank you very much Hellstrom for correcting my punctuation.

    Much appreciated, its people like you that make posting on this site so worthwhile.

  23. John T, 15 January 2014 20:27

    Hi Mat, I stand corrected, sorry about that, can’t think of where I got that thought in my head, I must be getting you and some other journalist mixed up, even went to the liberty of checking some of my old mags, nothing there at all. Ah well keep up the good work covering the GP’s, probably one the best GP journo’s out there!

  24. Daryl, 15 January 2014 20:47

    @Bill Reeve, he’s a prime candidate for depression, he may already suffer and may or may not realise it.

  25. Chelsea, 15 January 2014 23:29

    Put aside any claims of shyness, dislike of the media etc – how do you explain behaviour such as THUMPING de Puniet on the back on the track?

  26. Tina, 16 January 2014 00:44

    Unfortunately, there are things about our jobs that we all don’t like. Doesn’t mean we simply chose not to do it. Casey grew up in the paddock, he knows what it’s about, it was his career choice to ride, to earn millions of dollars a year and it is the media, the sponsors, the fans, that allowed him to do that.

    Even as an Aussie myself, I try to give him chances and use his shyness as an excuse for his arrogant demeanour, but then there is always something he says or does that just rubs me the wrong way. No one can doubt his brilliance, it’s just a shame that he let that go because of his own insecurities. In my opinion, as a spectator who likes a show, he is not missed in MotoGP.
    Lorenzo started off being disliked by the masses but he took some media lessons to deal with it, he didn’t blame others for his shortcomings!
    I could go on and on about things that irritate me about Stoner but he has made his decision, done nothing but bad mouth the sport since he left (and before too!), so finally I say good riddance. Go fish into obscurity Moaner.

  27. Byron Allen Black, 16 January 2014 01:17

    So this is what the sport has become: sponsor-centred. Could you imagine the likes of “I’ll punch your lights out” John Kocinski or “I’m an asshole and get out of my way” Kenny Roberts in this situation? Impossible. Today’s MotoGP riders have to be sweet-faced, presentable, PR-savvy guys, to keep Dorna and the various big-money backers happy. Where are all the racing maniacs of yesteryear? In the history books (or the graveyard) presumably. Get off my lawn.

  28. Tony G, 16 January 2014 03:07

    Great article Mat. It has convinced me to consider buying his book. Am usually a little dubious about sports biographies as I have to be careful where I spend my money these days. Seems Casey is a victim of his childhood successes and perhaps some overly protective parenting which seems a little out of the ordinary for a kid raised in the rural back blocks of NSW but hey I am not criticising his parents who sold everything so that he could further his racing career in the UK, something I doubt that I would be comfortable doing with my own kids. I guess all the rubbish that was thrown at him during his first championship year at Ducati also reinforced his belief that the world was against him. One thing without doubt though, he was one of the most successful riders ever in the Senior class and was unbeatable at Phillip Is. His legacy, apart from his record, is his Ducati succcess and the question mark over Rossi after his abject failure with the same squad.

  29. Nick Maher, 16 January 2014 03:38

    That’s quite some dichotomy. He actively pursues, and achieves, greatness in his chosen pursuit. He then says he despises the attention his greatness brings (or bestows upon) him. I suppose that could be seen as mechanism to divert pressure from the outside, though that act of diversion brings unwanted scrutiny of its own.
    I think he would be way better off with some consultation with a psychologist. He knew from the get-go (as 4yr old) that if he was really good, and he clearly is, that he would get attention.
    How would he feel about removal of his achievements from the records?

  30. Gaz, 16 January 2014 05:40

    Great article Matt and one that hopefully opens the minds of all those that seemingly want to pillory everything about Stoner (when off the bike), purely because of the ‘me me me’ of modern celebrity.

    Stoner for me epitomised a glaring chasm in the sport and what it has become in that he was a genius on the bike, but purely because he did not like, seek or enjoy the off bike activity he is labelled and pilloried by fans who want to ‘own’ the sport and the celebrities in it.

    I once posted in another forum that in so many ways Rossi has developed a business model and personality that whilst manufactured to suit the modern medium, has somewhat damaged the sport by creating overly high expectations of the fans.

    IMO, Rossi has fun and Stoner has fun, both should be revered for what they do not one revered and another pilloried.

    Give me the honest, forthright and often very information commentst hat emanate from Stoner over the media drivel political correct drivel of the masses, and yes I so miss the CS press conferences

  31. Andrew, 16 January 2014 11:30

    I agree with the person who likened Stoner to the 500GP riders. I live in Brisbane. I’ve met Doohan a couple of times, never Stoner, but there seems to be similarities. If I needed someone to ride for my life, it would be one of those two. I can see a new reality TV series: Australia’s/America’s/England’s etc next MOTO GP hero! Blah blah. I don’t believe non Moto GP riders understand the publicity carnival and political correctness that is involved with a seat on a bike. I am in awe of Stoner’s riding ability, and admire his personal honesty and commitment in a race. But he never needs to justify anything to me or anyone else.

  32. Steve W, 16 January 2014 11:31

    Coddled kid meets the Real World?

  33. marian gooderham, 16 January 2014 13:43

    I feel his pain. Casey is an amazing racer and an amazing person. It must have be awful for him to be so great at his job but so socially awkward with the media and fans. I just hope he is happy now he is out of the media spotlight.

  34. Nick, 16 January 2014 14:33

    He is just a quiet Australian country kid with the persona to match. It seems to me that half the fans would rather have a soap opera to watch rather than a bike race. Should all the riders today go and hire a public relations firm to mould a public image for themselves or should they just be themselves and get on with the primary reason they are there, riding a bike.

    I really do find it fairly ludicrous that we even give a s*** what they look like with their helmets off, or how witty they are following a podium presentation. Perhaps some of the fans should retire their motogp.com subscriptions and buy a Kardashian DVD.

    It was this bulls*** that robbed us of the opportunity of seeing Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner all battling it out for the championship.

    Let’s just get back to racing!

  35. AB, 16 January 2014 16:00

    He couldn’t take the heat so he got out of the kitchen. Fair enough I guess, but what a waste of a talent.

  36. Pavlo, 16 January 2014 18:25

    Maybe the best article I have read until now. Two things I would like to comment on: First, Like John T I also remember reading that same article of yours in Bike, where I believe you did write something like while Rossi continues to lay down the law, Stoner is going back to Australia to his mom. I have been meaning to comment on this for a while. If you say that you did not write it, I have to take your word for it.
    Secondly, I was recently reading an interview of Anthony West where he mentioned how much he would have liked to have had the chance (like the Spaniards) to race since he was five.. I strongly believe that there should be a law that prevents kids to race in any serious way before they are adults. Instead of trying to bring the rest of the world in line with the absurdity that is happening in Spain, they should bring Spain in line with the rest of the world. Watching the youtube video of Mark Marquez racing the Espargaro bros when he was 5, I have to say it was a pretty depressing sight. The only time I have felt sorry for him! If MM began his career at 18 (along with everybody else) he would have still kicked ass and he would also have had a childhood.

  37. John Read, 16 January 2014 22:38

    G’day Nick Maher,

    You make a very interesting point. To actively pursue and achieve greatness but then to despise the attention.

    Maybe it was really mum and dad who were doing the pursueing which may explain the personalities of many top sports people including Casey Stoner.

  38. AHA, 17 January 2014 14:06

    Great piece. I’ve no time for the Stoner haters. The guy was an all time great rider and when people stopped being able to deny that (‘he’s just a crasher’) then he became the ‘moaner’. Rossi and Pedrosa could bleat plenty & that was ok, Lorenzo would bitch about Marco – no problem. Sheer hypocrisy. Most of us have no idea how tough it is at the top but only some are too jealous and small minded to figure it out. Besides, we have 20 riders waving their hands to the crowd at the end of every session & no-one remembers their names the next day. Stoner was one of those few riders that was worth the price of admission alone. Very few will match his record ever. Try recognising true greatness when you see it.

  39. AlanG, 17 January 2014 20:03

    I’m sorry about those who thought Casey was “odious” to Rossi over the apology. Saying that “Your ambition outweighed your talent” is just a humorous Aussie way of accepting that it was a racing mistake. It’s probably been said to Casey many time bumping handlebars on the dirt track. He said it with a smile and didn’t turn it into a feud.
    Is everyone calling MM “odious” because he gave it back to Rossi on the corkscrew ?

  40. The Original Ray T, 17 January 2014 21:19

    It’s kinda sad that to still be in MotoGP you need to be a celebrity and telegenic as well as talented..or instead of being talented.
    I enjoyed Stoner, I’m pretty sick of all MotoGP and F1 personalities reading off the same canned script.

  41. Tracey kerr, 18 January 2014 17:17

    I followed casy through out his fantastic carrer yes he moaned about different things here and there, but we all really missed him when he was struck die with a mystery virus and became to ill to ride. I was gutted when he retired as I was looking forward to some great racing between casy and marquez,

  42. Mat Oxley, 18 January 2014 17:19

    Pavlo, have to say I agree with you about kids starting racing so young. It’s not right for all kinds of reasons.

  43. Kevin, 18 January 2014 18:15

    I don’t know about you, but I go to and watch motogp for the racing. I am not fussed at all how good they are at PR. I rarely watch the build up and once the checkered flag is waved I turn off the TV.

  44. Unpop, 19 January 2014 03:55

    He was bullied so his parents took him out of school? No wonder he cant deal with real life. When he met his wife, she was underage.. Only girl hes known. Pretty sure she pulls the strings. Talented rider, fragile person. And dont Give me that “Aussie” bull. I play rugby against enough of them and are friends with many plus with family down under. They arent weak gibbering monkeys like this guy

  45. deeds, 20 January 2014 02:39

    There’s little doubt MotoGP’s management have few to no skills when it comes to negotiating with the teams & sponsors over media and marketing. And that Dorna, the teams and the sponsors consider the riders to be their tools.

    Rossi’s comprehension of this balance lead him to “play the game” overtly so as to tide energy his way. That’s one kind of response to the truly bizarre situation of life-and-death talent being thrust out as PR men for the money men in the background. Rossi’s approach was accepted, then expected. That was an even more bizarre response by the money men, their greed (yet again) overcame sense, they saw how it worked, and then wanted everyone else to be Rossi-lite.

    Stoner went a different tack at the same problem, but his approach wasn’t accepted and definitely not respected. It should have been because it’s just as legitimate a method of dealing with overt bullshit pressure as the path Rossi took. Fortunately for us, Stoner spent much time making sure as many of us as possible could comprehend what he was on about. Including writing this book.

    The money riders are paid doesn’t transform them into media masters, or muppets. Nor should it. They should be (and are) paid to ride. Anything else we get from them is a bonus.

    Riders shouldn’t have to speak for more than themselves as their riding does that, and the media muppetry should be optional, not compulsory.

  46. professorskridlov, 20 January 2014 18:18

    Poor little fella. Why won’t those nasty people leave him alone?

    It’s bad enough being paid huge sums of money to do what you love doing (and are supremely good at) without having the people who provide the money (teams; sponsors; paying punters) require that you at least simulate good humour most of the time. Very unreasonable.

    Stoner needs to be reminded that many, if not all people, have to put up with protracted inconvenience and sometimes near-humiliation in the workplace order to earn a wage that often barely covers the requirements for a dignified family life. And very few of them ever hear a word of praise for their efforts.

    Considering how long Stoner has been in the racing game it’s a bit rich whining about “murder”. He can’t claim that all the media came as a big surprise. No one forced him to stay in the business.

    I’ve lived in rural Australia so I find it ludicrous to see his background interpreted as a factor in his psychological fragility. In my experience rural Australians are as robust as any other sector of humanity – and usually much more so.

    It’s a shame he’s no longer racing but his personality is odious.

  47. Lawrence McGhee, 21 January 2014 06:28

    I am very glad that I read this article because it has explained Casey’s demeanour. I don’t dislike any of the riders but I do have a leaning towards Dani because he is similar in character to Casey, he lets his work on the bike tell the story.
    Thanks super for your work Max
    p.s don’t get me wrong, I love Valentino’s work as an orator

  48. Lawrence McGhee, 21 January 2014 06:31

    Please accept my apology Mat (not Max)

  49. deeds, 21 January 2014 08:16

    @professorskridlov
    Those “punters” you refer to, suffering inconvenience and loss of dignity, that’s their choice based on the options available to them within their scope of talents, opportunities, access and entitlement. And they do complain – at the pub. And in blog comments. But not just about their own plight, also of many they perceive as having it better.

    Most of them are not risking their lives in title pursuits that distribute much of their kudos back to the bike/team/engineers. When riders use the collective “we” to describe how things are going through a weekend they’re referring to the infrastructure benefiting from their risking life, limb and reputation on the bike.

    But unlike everyone else in the team, riders obligations extend past 200MPH down the straight and hoping the brakes work every lap.

    Why or how this ever gets overlooked by the likes of yourself attempting to either ignore or belittle this risk factor is odd not because you fob it off as “doing something you love…”, but because you’re so eager to promote suffering as a state we should accept when it comes from others.

    We shouldn’t. None of us should accept any form of tyrannical, systemic oppression and disdain for any man, let alone someone as truly talented as a rider risking his life. Not only does he do it for the “we” of team, bike and engineers, it’s both entertainment and education on what’s possible on a bike for the rest of us.

    If the media, team, public and governing body seem against him, why shouldn’t he speak up? Thankfully he did. Here’s hoping he’s got more to say.

  50. John Read, 21 January 2014 18:56

    Well said deeds. The biggest risk for us keyboad warriors is a paper cut. We should all remember this when drafting our character assessments.

  51. Nick, 22 January 2014 19:05

    My total admiration for a genius. One of the best ever if Not the Best.
    What I don’t get is why making an autobiography then
    He is just human and just wants a little bit of everything?

    Best wishes for him

  52. Nath, 31 January 2014 04:23

    To me it is simple I watch motorsport for great hard racing, and honest thoughts and opinions not PR correct comments. If we continue this way the heart and soul of racing I think will be gone because the focus becomes everything around racing and not the racing itself. Side comment: I want prototypes for the whole field even if its 2 year old bike, consistent changing of rules seem to be away of justify their job not helping the sport.

  53. Elton Alwine, 31 January 2014 04:38

    I find the guy absolutely fascinating. I’m purchasing his book via Amazon soon. I find MotoGP is kind of empty without him, because I feel like it’s all the Marquez e Lorenzo show, and I feel that with Stoner the game would just be… more incredible. I truly wish he’d return, but it will not happen.

    Fantastic insight, Mat.

  54. pete morgan, 23 February 2014 12:36

    As a person old enough to have seen a lot of champions race going back to the late 50′s I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Casey is up there in the top half dozen since that time, maybe even top three. I personally would place his talent well above Rossi who is the only great rider a lot of today’s fans will have seen, until Stoner, lorenzo and Marquez came along making their idol seem less dominant. For me, give me Stoner and his honesty every time over the unpleasant mind games we had been witnessing up until he came along, refusing to play those games, instead letting his riding do the talking. It was a real pleasure for me to see sportsmanship and respect return to the podium in his era. I for one feel that racing is a bit hollow without Stoner, we will never know who is the best rider in the world without him on the grid.

  55. rob linssen, 11 March 2014 19:42

    Hi Mat,
    Thanks for sharing this with us all.
    I’ve been fan of Casey since he joined the 125 class. Because of his ridingstyle. He is of exactly the same age as my son. He too could race very good, but we as a family were not willing or able to spent money and time in his career. Choices.
    When I learned about the Stoner family I had deeply respect for all of them. Because they took the risk and earned their succes.
    I’ve been Always defending Casey. I admire him so much and still do. I miss him that much in the MotoGP. The paddock will never be the same.
    For me he will ever be like a son. I met him twice in Assen and had 10 seconds contact with him (smile). But the 10 seconds and the picture taken are a treasure for me.
    Shame that all the Rossi fans never have the guts to admitt that Stoner is the fundament for a new generation of riders. Rossi have to retire this year. Otherwise it will be clownesk and that too isn’t what Rossi deserves. As Lorenzo said in the Faster DVD: He is not a god. That was what Stoner tried to explain to Rossi.
    Cheers!

  56. martin smit, 23 March 2014 20:02

    Is stoner making a come back.

  57. Zac, 1 April 2014 22:10

    Some of the hate for Stoner on here is truly pathetic. Jealousy I assume. …they can’t handle the fact Casey has already achieved more than they ever will!

  58. JoeRenata, 2 April 2014 04:54

    i respect him for who he is, he is one of the greatest rider undoubtedly! with him ducati had a good year when any other riders failed including the doctor and hayden (both are world champs). From there you can justify his real talent, above par!

  59. Bart, 5 April 2014 08:10

    When I was 7 years old I hated the fact that my first elementary teacher always put me in the spotlight as the classroom’s top achiever after a test. It was then that I began to make mistakes on purpose to let other kids deal with the attention.

    When I read this article my jaw dropped and I just gazed for like 5 minutes…

    I’m now 43 years old, never made it through college, and I know exactly how Casey must’ve felt and why he’ll never join MotoGP again.

  60. Michael, 13 April 2014 19:26

    If this is true…. So sad to think the Worlds best thinks Casey Stoner is afraid of the media. He could of been all time best with Honda. All time best I ment WORLD… Best for years to come. ALL TIME GREATEST OZZIE HELL YEA!!! He won’t read this so never mind… Sad ;(

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