‘TV decoder’ Casey Stoner didn’t know he’d done certain things on bike

Casey Stoner's natural instinct on a MotoGP bike not only baffled rivals but also confused himself when he contradicted what telemetry often told engineers

Casey Stoner

Casey Stoner’s unique ability to go with his instinct on a bike rather than adapt his style to what telemetry was telling him a major factor in his MotoGP success, according to former team-mate Marco Melandri.

The Australian competed in MotoGP between 2006 and 2012, clinching two world titles (one each for Ducati and Honda) before calling time on his burgeoning career aged just 27-years old citing a preference to enjoy a low-profile life out of the spotlight.

Despite his relatively brief tenure at the highest level, Stoner is regarded as one of history’s MotoGP greats, winning 38 of the 115 grands prix he started, as well as 69 podiums and 39 pole positions.

With his meticulous, inch-perfect riding style differing from his rivals, Stoner was known for his ability to wring every potential from the machines he was riding at every venue.

It is a style that is admired by Melandri, who partnered Stoner at Ducati during the 2008 MotoGP season, saying his ‘natural automation’ meant he’d use his instinct into corners to go above and beyond what telemetry suggested was the more consistent route.

“I don’t like to compare the big champions with each other because each of them was strong because of their different characteristics,” he told GPOne. “Stoner, for example, was a bit like Sky’s first decoder.

“Today’s rider is like a modern recorder: As he rides, he records his actions in his head and then looks at them again in the box and understands them.

“Casey, on the other hand, had natural automation that were inherently perfect, but as soon as he got off the motorcycle, he did not even know that he had done certain things.”

“In some corners that you ride in third gear, he lacked an engine brake. That is why he put in second gear in the braking phase and then again third before turning into the curve. But when asked about it, he said it wasn’t true.

“Of course, the data recording contradicted him there, but it was incredible, he always did the right thing, but he didn’t know he was doing it. He was a bit wild, but I liked it.”

Stoner recently made headlines after it emerged he has been forced to give up nearly all physical activity due to chronic fatigue syndrome