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Is Casey Stoner Planning Some Payback to Honda with Ducati?

The fact that the two-time World Champion is rather secretive as to his racing-related ideas is old news, so his recent media silence might pass unnoticed. Still, some believe that the Aussie is planning to jump ship and put an end to his help for HRC.
Certain people, whose spies are infiltrated in the racing world, seem to believe that the relationship between Casey Stoner and Honda Racing Corporation is growing cold. The reasons might be, allegedly, two things that happened this year and that might have caused Stoner to start looking in other directions than Tokyo.HCR denied Stoner a ride on Pedrosa's bike in the very moment he wanted this more than anything else
Stoner called it quits with MotoGP when he was a world champion and the whole racing planet was looking at him. Inexplicable to some, perfectly understandable to others, Stoner's decision took everyone by surprise.

Each time when asked about a possible return to the premier class, Stoner smiled and said "no." And that was between his V8 Supercar races and fishing trips, with that blatant sincerity of a person who is not at all accustomed to the media hype and all the double-talk that's so common these days.

He agreed to help Honda out in the development of the new machines, and did his best in factory testing sessions, still happy to be fast and feel good at the helm of a MotoGP bike, and years passed by without him ever desiring to don the Repsol Honda leathers and step on the track as a racer, again.

At least until Dani Pedrosa was forced to sit out of several races, recovering from the much-needed surgery that fixed his turned-chronic arm pump issues. Stoner apparently did not want to give HRC any headaches demanding a ride while both pilots were on the track.

If he wanted a wildcard ride, HRC would have most likely granted it. Stoner thought that he could actually help Honda with substituting for Pedrosa, but HRC said "no," invoking various reasons. The word out there is that HRC considered the presence of Stoner in a race a major risk factor, but not for the machine or for himself, but for Marc Marquez.

The young defending champion was not having the greatest time of his life and kept on making mistake after mistake, crashing out of races and ruining his title defense almost every other weekend. Honda considered that a rider with Stoner's alien talent, a will to race and a desire to show he's still got what it takes to claim a win was too much of a hazard for MM93.

And having this rider on one of the top machines in the premier class could have provided an extra condition to blow everything up with a hard-fought battle on the track... the last thing Honda wanted while they were hoping Marquez would finally get a grip.

Stoner did nothing to hide his disappointment with Honda's decision in his Twitter posts, and sportreview believes this was the second-shortest straw Tokyo drew.An unpardonable throttle malfunction ruined Stoner's fun and race at the Suzuka 8 Hours and left him injured with a broken scapula and leg
Supposedly, HRC's utter failure at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race was the shortest straw. Stoner crashed at Suzuka few laps into his stint and before the first hour of the race was even over. After taking over from his teammate Takumi Takahashi, Stoner crashed violently at high speed (Stoner's crash video here), with the outcome being a ruined race, a fractured tibia, and a broken shoulder blade.

Stoner was quick to declare that the reason for his (otherwise inexplicable) crash was not a rider error, but a mechanical malfunction. He said the throttle of his bike stuck open, and the only solution was to lay down the bike and hope for the best.

Seeing the speed he was carrying through the Hairpin corner at, Stoner was indeed lucky to escape only with those injuries. After analyzing the bike, HRC could only confirm that, at that turn, the throttle indeed was open at 26 degrees, a thing that should not have happened.

No other explanation or details were provided, and a press release in which HRC apologized to Stoner was pretty much all there was to the story.

Now, we know that s*** can happen at all times to anyone, but in the racing scene, a manufacturer such as Honda, who also happens to be one of the biggest in the world, cannot simply allow this to happen.

We're not talking about blown flat tires or other similarly trivial matters, we are talking about one of the key elements of a race bike. Honda is maybe passing through a rougher time, especially as they had to make a hybrid bike for Marquez, incorporating 2014-spec parts to make it work and hope he still has a fighting chance for the season podium. Still, it looks like all this may have been a tad too much for Casey.

The mentioned source claims that the Australian is likely to think about showing Honda what they are missing, and says that we are witnessing the end of their love story.

Ducati Corse officials said they would always welcome Stoner. Regardless of what happened in the past, Ducati is obviously one of the best moves if Stoner is indeed having payback thoughts. The only rider who could master the Desmosedici that defeated even Rossi, Stoner, might lend a hand in making the GP15/16 machine even better.

Gigi Dall'Igna revolutionized Ducati Corse and built a machine that's now way more rideable than anything in the past, and things have solid prospects of becoming even better. Stoner is a highly experienced rider, and his feedback is a most valuable asset to any bike builder on the grid.

While it's most unlikely that he might change his mind and want to become a full-time employee at Ducati, Stoner could be a prized consultant. Funny thing, Stoner and Lamborghini are on very good terms and the house of Sant’Agata Bolognese is under the same four-circled Audi umbrella as Ducati.

With a bit of help from Audi, Ducati's CEO Claudio Domenicali was able to convince Aprilia's Gigi Dall'Igna to dress the Borgo Panigale red shirt. Will Dall'Igna be able to convince Stoner to do so, as well?

Only time will tell, but I cannot help noticing that Dall'Igna left Aprilia in a moment of sheer disappointment. And that might be exactly how Stoner feels now about Honda. Bets, anyone?

 
 
 
 
 

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