06 Jan 2022 | 02:29 | Diving
The Australian is a key episode of the 2008 season, when he is beaten in the United States GP by Valentino: “Al Corkscrew had to return the position. And without my mistake in the final I would have won the race “
Smiles, handshakes, swapped helmets and even a photo 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, which culminated in the United States GP in 2008. A duel still debated today, as evidenced by the recent statements by Stoner himself in the Tales of Valentino series, dedicated to the great opponent.
POLEMICS-Casey was the reigning world champion and was chasing Rossi by 20 points in the standings. Although it was only halfway through the season, the Laguna Seca GP had an important weight for the two riders: “We were both collecting a lot of points for the championship. Maybe Valentino already had a plan in mind: he would beat me or make sure none of us finished the race. I’m not sure, but judging by some detached one would think it was his mentality. From the first laps he tried not to let me find my rhythm ”.
UNFAIR- In the collective memory remains the overtaking of Valentino at the Corkscrew, with an excursion on the dirt road. A maneuver that Stoner does not remember with particular pleasure: “he used the track in an unsafe way. The regulation says that, in the event of off-track exits with a consequent advantage, you have to go back to your position …”. Rossi, on the other hand, held the position and withstood Casey’s subsequent attacks, also thanks to a crash by the Australian rider on the Ducati: “Rossi braked very early at the entrance to the last corner, basically to try to catch me off guard. I was expecting that maneuver, so I ended up in the gravel. It was my mistake. I still think I would have won the race without that flaw. ”
PRESS-According to Stoner, that episode was also important for 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 me under pressure. At Laguna Seca he may have made a mistake. After that race we were no longer just opponents. I wouldn’t say enemies, but surely an even tougher rivalry has arisen ”. A tough dualism, which has given the fans infinite emotions.