MotoGP

Stoner criticises Ducati: “You’d think they would have learned by now"

Casey Stoner criticises Ducati for allowing Andrea Dovizioso to leave its team, saying it should be learning from past mistakes not committing them again

The notoriously media shy Casey Stoner doesn’t speak out all that often but when he does he certainly ensures good value when he reclaims some of the spotlight as this ‘opinionated’ view of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship shows.

The double MotoGP World Champion has been absent from the sport since he retired at the end of 2012, his exit paving the way for Marc Marquez to replace him at Repsol Honda and begin a new era of dominance for HRC.

Since then Stoner has maintained a fairly low profile, the Australian’s famously wary opinion of the media and the limelight meaning he doesn’t often speak out. However, when he does...

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Indeed, Stoner doesn’t exactly mince his words during the In The Fast Lane podcast  as he covers several headlines in the sport at this moment, including saying the 2020 MotoGP is hard to call ‘a proper championship’ and that Marquez could still win the title had he not returned from injury too early.

However, it is his critical view of the way Ducati has allowed Andrea Dovizioso to become the latest rider to leave its team under a dark cloud that captures attention here.

Stoner won the 2007 MotoGP World Championship with the firm before notching up a second in 2012 with Honda. He then returned to Ducati in retirement as a private test rider, but left soon afterwards when he became frustrated with its reluctance to put his suggestions into action.

It’s a criticism that has plagued Ducati over the years, with the unique characteristics of the Desmosedici machine often proving a tricky mistress. 

However, despite Stoner’s immense success and Dovizioso’s reputation as one of the finest versatile development riders in the sport, Ducati has continued to forge its own path with development.

With Dovizioso calling Ducati’s bluff by quitting despite having no obvious destination for the 2021 MotoGP season, Stoner says he is ‘disappointed’ the team hasn’t learned from past mistakes and worked harder for its riders.

"I'm pretty disappointed in Ducati. I think after all these years they may have learnt to really look after the riders that look after them, I suppose.

"Andrea has been trying to get things done, as I was, and a big reason why I left Ducati as a test rider was we just could not get them to make changes for the rider. If they didn't see it on the data they didn't really see it as relevant.

"Everything with a bike is about feel with the rider. It's not like a car where you are strapped in and you've only got certain element like steering, brake and throttle.

"On a bike, just a bit of difference in the rider's position will change the way the bike moves and feels. And when they've got someone who is really good at relaying that information, like Andrea, they've got to listen to him.

"It's a big part of what Andrea's unhappy about. It's been years and years of everything going through data and being about the engine and aerodynamics.”

"The Ducati is very close to being a fantastic bike but it's always missing that one fundamental, which is turning. That comes from a rider and getting a feel for the chassis."
 

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