The Australian is a key episode in the 2008 season, when he was beaten in the USA by Valentino: “Al Cavatappi had to bring back the position. Without my mistake in the final, I would have won the race.”
Mutual smiles, handshakes, helmets, and even taking a picture together. The last meeting between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi was very friendly. The Australian, who retired in 2012, greeted his former Italian rival in Portimao, in his penultimate performance in MotoGP. The times of their great rivalry seem far off, culminating in the 2008 United States Grand Prix. A duel is still debated today, as evidenced by recent statements made by Stoner himself in the series. Valentino Tales, dedicated to the great opponent.
Casey was the world champion and was chasing a Rossi who was 20 points behind in the standings. Although it was only mid-season, the Laguna Seca GP had an important weight for the riders: “We were collecting a lot of points for the championship. Maybe Valentino had a plan already: he was going to beat me or he was going to make sure none of us finished the race. I’m not sure, But judging by some braking, one might think that’s his mentality. From the first laps he tried not to let me find my rhythm.”
In the collective memory, Valentino is still overtaken at Corkscrew, with a ride on the gravel. A maneuver that Stoner does not remember with particular pleasure: “He used the track in an unsafe manner. The regulation says that in the event of deviating from the lane with a subsequent advantage, you must return your location…”. Rossi, on the other hand, held his position and resisted Casey’s subsequent attacks, also thanks to the Australian rider’s crash on a Ducati: “Rossi braked too early at the entrance to the last corner, basically for a surprise attempt… I was expecting that maneuver, so I ended up in the gravel. It was My fault. I still think I would have won the race without that flaw.”
According to Stoner, that episode was also important to the relationship that Valentino had with the media: “Rossi had great power, he knew how to use it and how to create problems. He also knew the things he had to say to the press, statements that would put pressure on me. Perhaps. He was wrong at Laguna Seca. After that race we were no longer just opponents. I wouldn’t say enemies, but certainly a tougher rivalry arose.” Cruel duality gave fans infinite feelings.
Jan 6 2022 (change on Jan 6 2022 | 11:10)
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