After returning to the MotoGP paddock for the first time in over three years at last month’s penultimate round in Portimao, Casey Stoner shed light on which rider he learnt the most from, along with his fondest racing memory.
The two-time world MotoGP champion - once each with Ducati and Repsol Honda - spent some of his time assisting his former Ducati team and its riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller.
Ducati are yet to win a riders’ title since Stoner did so in 2007, but with Bagnaia winning four of the last six races in 2021, it’s a possibility that could very much become a reality in 2022.
For Stoner, his first MotoGP title came with the Italian manufacturer, however, the Australian’s fondest racing moment was not that one, instead winning the title for Honda at his home race in Phillip Island, which also came on his birthday in 2011.
When speaking to MotoGP’s Simon Crafar during warm-up for the Algarve Grand Prix last month, Stoner said: "I can’t go past winning the championship in 2011 at Phillip Island. It didn’t look like it was going to happen until that morning when unfortunately Jorge crashed and injured his finger.
"But so many things lined up that day; on my birthday, I think it was my fifth [win] in a row at Phillip Island, my home Grand Prix, second World Championship, we just had some many things line up that day it was just incredible.
"Not many people get to win a World Championship at their home race on their birthday, and all these things lined up so it was really fantastic."
Stoner’s second championship win was one that came while teammates with Dani Pedrosa - a rider he competed with and against throughout his career.
And although Stoner also faced Lorenzo and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi who have 14 titles between them, ten of which came in the premier class, it’s Pedrosa who he learned the most from.
"I think there were strong points in everyone I competed against. No two riders are the same, no two bikes are the same, no two corners really are the same," added Stoner when talking to Crafar.
"There’s always a different way to approach everything. As the old saying [goes], there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s a lot of ways to get the job done. Jorge [Lorenzo] had plenty of things I would have wanted, Valentino’s [Rossi] fighting ability and the way that he read races, especially when it started getting a bit busy.
"But the person I learnt the most from in my career, because I raced him my entire career, was Dani Pedrosa.
"The way he was able to find speed and things sometimes would blow your mind, you’d be like ‘how the hell is he doing this?’"