Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In Conversation with Casey Stoner

Casey Stoner Casey Stoner Casey Stoner
Reigning MotoGP world champion, Casey Stoner is probably the fastest man in the world on two wheels right now. And he doesn't mince words...

At 27 years of age, Casey Stoner already has two MotoGP world championships (2007 and 2011) to his name and there is a very good chance that he’ll win the 2012 MotoGP world championship as well. Recently, Man’s World magazine had an opportunity to put a few questions to the reigning MotoGP world champion, which he answered with remarkable candour. Here are a few excerpts from what Casey had to say…

On frequent changes in MotoGP technical regulations, pertaining to engine size

“I strongly believe that the management in this sport should define a clear set of rules and then stick to them for a guaranteed period of time. The constant changing of the rules is deterring manufacturers and privateer teams from entering. If you keep the rules stable for a few years then other teams looking to join the Championship know the benchmark and can join with confidence that the rules will not change and that they could become competitive. If they join without this assurance, then it is a huge gamble, as if rules change and they must adapt then they simply may not have the budget which means they exit from the sport.”

On allowing production-based engines in MotoGP and whether CRT teams are a step in the right direction

“For me, no. The MotoGP class is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, with prototype machines. To allow CRT bikes, which are production based machines, is cheapening the class and to mix them in with the prototype machines is not only confusing to the fans and viewers of the sport but also dangerous in my opinion. We can see that the lap times of these CRT bikes are very similar to the Moto2 bikes (600cc) and this for me is a big problem.”

On his rivals, against whom he enjoys racing

“Honestly, I really enjoy racing with Dani Pedrosa, my team mate in the Honda factory team, and Jorge Lorenzo. We’ve seen some very close racing between the three of us so far this season and when we are on track and that close to each other, I have confidence riding with them. I hope they feel the same, but for me, to know that it’s them I am fighting with is very comforting as they both have track maturity and are totally aware of their immediate surroundings.”

On why he thinks seven-time MotoGP world champion, Valentino Rossi hasn’t been able to do well with Ducati

“I think it’s difficult to say without seeing him on a Yamaha or Honda. What Valentino has achieved in the sport is very impressive and I’m sorry to see them struggling now at Ducati. However, they were very quick to judge the situation from the outside when I was there and commented that they could fix the bike in 80 seconds. Well it’s been 17 months now, numerous chassis’ and millions of Euros spent and it seems that they are further back from the bike they inherited in Valencia 2010. Satellite riders have been finishing higher than Valentino and Nicky Hayden has had some very good sessions. There is no doubt that it’s a very different style of bike to ride from the Japanese bikes and I’m not sure what they will try next.”

On how the mid-1990s Honda NSR500 compares with the current RC213V MotoGP racebike

“Unfortunately, I haven’t ridden one, but I’d really like to ride Honda’s two-stroke NSR500s! They may be around 80 horsepower less than the bikes we ride now, but without any traction control I’m pretty sure they’d be a lot of fun to ride.”

On the prospect of riding very powerful sportsbikes on the street

“I was fortunate to ride the Honda Fireblade in Australia last year and I was very impressed. I was shocked that it didn’t have traction control as it was so good to ride! On public roads, you’d have to be stupid to ride like you’re on a track, this is something I’ll never understand. As a means of transport to get around, I don’t use my bike so much as now we are three people so a car is so much more convenient. When I want to get out to clear my head though, there is nothing like a nice ride. I have a Honda CB1000R, it’s a very comfortable bike to ride with a lot of power, but I save my speed for the track.”

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It seems quite likely that Casey will win his third MotoGP world championship this year

On his motorcycling hero

“Of course, Mick Doohan. He’s always been my idol, I used to watch all his races as a kid and what he achieved is something really impressive. To come back from the injuries he sustained and to then win Championships is incredible. To ride in the Repsol Honda, the Honda factory Team, in the same livery as he raced in is something I’m very proud of. I’ve been fortunate to become friends with Mick and he comes to a few races each year which is really nice.”

On the party scene in MotoGP and the countries he enjoys visiting

“Ha ha. I’m not really a party guy, I enjoy having dinner with my friends and being in their company and having a good time, but not so much partying. I’d say that my favourite circuits are probably Phillip Island, Brno and Mugello as they are simply fun to ride at! During the season, I really enjoy racing in Phillip Island as it provides me with an opportunity to get home and see some friends and family and spend time in Australia. I also like going to America for the two races over there, there is such diversity in America and I enjoy travelling around and spending time in the mountains or by the ocean, I hope to spend more time there in the future.”

On the prospect of MotoGP going to India in 2013

“I’ve never been to India. I read a lot about the F1 race there last year and obviously watched it and I would be interested to see the circuit for sure. I think that MotoGP needs to visit more areas and we currently have four races in Spain, which is too many. MotoGP is the F1 of bikes, if we want to attract a larger following and new sponsors etc, then we must take the show to new markets.”

On his favourite music

“I pretty much listen to everything, I don’t have a favourite band as I never know who I’m listening to! I just like what I hear.”

On what he’s searching for, in life

“I guess the same as most people, I always wanted my own family and now with the birth of my daughter Alessandra in February, this dream has become a reality. I’d like more children in the future and to spend more time back home in Australia.”

On the bike he wanted most, as a teenager

“Probably Mick Doohan’s Repsol Honda!”

On his dream car

“I love a lot of cars, but I’m not the kind of person that would waste money on them. I guess I’d love to drive a few Lamborghinis or a Zonda, but I probably wouldn’t buy one.”

On his favourite place to go on a holiday

“I’d say America, but I’d also like to see more of Australia. I’ve been looking at the Caribbean a lot recently as I know the fishing over there is pretty good!”

On his favourite films and the Hollywood actress he likes most

“Meg Ryan has always been my favourite actress. For films, I appreciate clever films with a twist but recently I’ve been getting into my Westerns and especially Clint Eastwood movies.”

On whether he prefers formal or casual clothes

“I’m a casual dresser as I like to be outdoors, especially when at the farm but also cycling and fishing. So a suit wouldn’t really be practical. I have a few bespoke suits that I’ve had made, it’s nice to wear them for special occasions but in general I’m happiest in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt.”

This interview with Casey Stoner has been published here on Faster and Faster with permission from Man’s World magazine





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