Casey Stoner reveals Yamaha "shut down" a move | "I was a fill-in at Ducati"

Casey Stoner has revealed that MotoGP negotiations with Yamaha collapsed on two occasions leaving him “lost” with “no ride whatsoever”.
Stoner, Jerez MotoGP Test November
Stoner, Jerez MotoGP Test November

The Australian said the first occasion occurred during discussions for a 2006 MotoGP debut.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Stoner was asked if he nearly went to Yamaha:

“Yes. They shut it down twice! In 2005, before ‘06, I was supposed to be going to the satellite team then the factory team the year after.

“Then, all of a sudden, everything went quiet. They were obviously using me as a scapegoat to get somebody else to sign for less!”

After spending his rookie season at LCR Honda, where he took a pole and podium, Stoner said he was back in talks with Yamaha for 2007.

But again, it came to nothing.

“They offered me a contract again in ‘06, for ‘07, then again it went dead quiet.

“So I ended up with absolutely nothing. We were lost, we had no ride whatsoever.

“That’s when Ducati approached us.”

Yamaha’s loss was Ducati’s gain, Stoner joining the Italian team and sensationally winning the world title during his debut season in red.

But Stoner believes he was initially signed as a ‘fill-in’ and was keeping the seat warm for Marco Melandri.

“We knew that we were just a fill-in because they tried to get Marco Melandri, but he wasn’t coming until 2008 because he was contracted.

“I was a fill-in rider. They literally had no plans on keeping me.

“They can pretend it was this big, beautiful thing! But I was literally just a gap-year rider!

“I was just a fill-in. Marco was coming in. That was their dream Italian team.

“Then I won the championship!

“To be honest, Yamaha gave me my motivation. All I wanted to do, at the start of the year, was to get a few podiums. Make them a little sorry that they didn’t choose me.”

Melandri duly joined the factory Ducati team alongside Stoner in 2008 but finished just 17th in the world championship and negotiated an early exit from the squad at the end of the year.

Read More