Casey Stoner: ‘Killer’  Valentino Rossi celebrating top fives is sad’

Casey Stoner says it is 'sad' to watch a rider like Valentino Rossi resigned to celebrating top fives now after such an illustrious career

Casey Stoner says he is ‘sad’ watching a ‘winner, a killer’ like Valentino Rossi celebrating top five results given the immense success he has enjoyed during an illustrious career.

Stoner and Rossi forged an iconic - if tempestuous - rivalry during their time together on track, a relatively short period of seven seasons after the Australian opted to retire relatively early following two World Championship title wins.

Relations between the two have seemingly softened at a distance since then with both expressing respect for one another’s achievements.

However, in an interview with Motorsport.com, Stoner intimates it may be time for Rossi to embrace retired life from a performance perspective, saying it is ‘sad’ to see him celebrating top five results towards the end of a career that has produced so much success.

“I think it all depends on Valentino; if he still enjoys the sport and maintains some speed, it’s great. It is really difficult to be in someone else’s mind. 

“For me, when I was competing against Valentino, he was a winner, a killer. He did everything possible to win races. 

“Now, however, a top five or a podium is like a victory for him and this is sad for me. He always did everything possible to win the races and today he seems to be struggling to win.”

"The points the leader has is incredibly poor"

Though Stoner has shied away from the limelight since retirement, he has courted controversy on the occasions he speaks out, not least this year when he suggested the MotoGP season had been weakened in Marc Marquez’s absence.

However, he doubles down further by saying the number of points current leader Joan Mir has is ‘incredibly poor’ and it lacks leadership in the Repsol Honda rider’s absence.

“At the moment I don’t think anyone can beat Marc,” Stoner said. "I’ve been saying for a long time that the only person who can beat Marquez is Marc himself.

“This year, unfortunately, in the first race he was injured. From that moment, without its leader, the championship is in chaos.

“The points the leader has are incredibly poor. They have so few because there has been no consistency from any rider on the grid, so it is really chaotic without Marc. 

“It will be interesting to see when he returns if everything normalises a bit.”
 

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