Casey Stoner: No edge of the track in MotoGP. No limit.

Casey Stoner believes asphalt runoff bordering the track creates more problems. Would like a 'big reduction' in MotoGP electronics; ' I want to see them sliding'
Casey Stoner, Valencia MotoGP, 13 November 2021
Casey Stoner, Valencia MotoGP, 13 November 2021
© Gold and Goose

Blurring the edge of the race track through asphalt run-off is one of the reasons for aggressive riding seen in the junior grand prix classes.

That's the opinion of retired double world champion Casey Stoner, who took advantage of a relaxation in Australia's Covid travel restrictions to visit the MotoGP paddock for the final two rounds of this season.

Stoner believes the FIM Stewards need to be much firmer and clearer to avoid some of the dangerous moves in Moto3, but maintains the extra runoff that now borders many of the corners is 'the worst thing that's happened to motorcycle racing'.

Such asphalt has replaced grass, either real or artificial, as well as gravel and is much safer in the event of a rider running wide.

The flipside is the new issue of 'track limits', with Race Direction forced to continuously monitor certain corners to ensure riders don’t gain an advantage by touching the prohibited areas marked with green paint.

Casey Stoner: No edge of the track in MotoGP. No limit.

But Stoner believes that by removing the previous asphalt-to-grass edging, the attitude of riders has also become more aggressive, knowing they can force another competitor off-track without the previous consequences.

"With the young riders, I think that the support needs to come more from Race Direction, a little bit more clarity or definitive decisions on riding and things like that," Stoner said.

"Because there's been no issues for so many years and now that there's this leeway - there's no edge of the track anymore. It just keeps going and is limited by some green paint. I think that doesn't help the situation.

"People have no fear anymore because there's no edge of the track. Before when there was grass everybody was kind of having to check themselves, whereas now it's like 'hey, I'll bust him and it doesn't matter, he’ll run off the track but there's plenty of [runoff] there'.

"I think everyone needs to learn to have a little more respect for each other. I don’t think it's just the young guys causing it. I've seen a lot of more mature and more experienced racers still doing similar things.

"I think it all stems from the penalties and punishments maybe not being harsh enough and not being definitive and clear enough. If there's a lot more of that then everybody is going to be a little bit more reserved.

"But for me the worst thing that's happened to motorcycle racing is all that extra runoff. There's just no edge of the track. No limit. I think that's very hard to contain everybody inside."

Marc Marquez, German MotoGP race, 20 June 2021
Marc Marquez, German MotoGP race, 20 June 2021
© Gold and Goose

'I want to see them sliding'

Stoner, famed for his extraordinary bike control on his way to world championships for Ducati (2007) and Honda (2011), was also quizzed on what changes he would like to see made to the current MotoGP prototypes.

"I'd love to have a say in the technical regulations to be honest," he smiled. "Obviously there would be controversy, but I believe there are elements there that don’t need to be. They are certainly not a safety issue. They are only pushing the price of development and everything through the roof."

Hinting at the development of wings and aerodynamics since he left the sport at the end of 2012, Stoner added: "We are trying to make things more cost effective, yet one of the elements we've got now we've basically turned it into Formula One and the costs are just going through the roof. I would like to see certain parts gone."

While MotoGP has seen multiple riders, teams and factories winning races in recent years, Stoner feels the show could still be improved with a 'step backwards' in areas such as the electronic traction control system.

"Electronically I think there needs to be a big reduction," Stoner said. "In 2016 they brought in the equalised ECU. It wasn't a step backwards like everyone thought it was going to be. And I think we honestly need a step backwards.

"I want to see them sliding, I want to see the mistakes, I want to see people struggling for grip and sliding out of corners. People maybe starting the race really well but then with their tyre selection maybe dropping back and people that were starting slower coming forwards. That will all happen with a few different regulations.

"It wouldn’t take much and I think the overtaking would actually be even better than now, because it wouldn't only be on the brakes. Someone having to send it up the inside because they all come out of the corners kind of the same [now].

"You'd find someone would mess up the exit a little bit and someone would get the run on them. Bike set-up would then be a lot more critical as well. I think a few changes would make for some incredible racing."

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