With only Jorge Lorenzo to fight for the championship crown this year – whom he leads by a massive 25 points in the overall classification – Rossi insisted Stoner's absence doesn't please him at all. On the contrary, he is sad for losing a champion-like competitor for the upcoming few races.
“I think first of all it is very bad for the championship. To lose Casey is to lose one of the greatest riders and one of the guys fighting for the championship. It is a great pity. I would like a lot to have Casey on the track and fight with him. I hope he will come back soon,” said Rossi only hours until the official start of the Czech Republic Grand Prix, at Brno.
Before announcing his partial “retirement” from the 2009 MotoGP season, Stoner was placed quite decent in the title fight, being 37 points behind Rossi in the overall classification and only 12 points behind Lorenzo.
His place in the Ducati works' team lineup will be taken by Finnish rider Mika Kallio, who'll therefore make his debut for the Italian manufacturer in his very first MotoGP season. During those three races, Kallio will himself be replaced at Pramac Racing by one or two riders, depending on the race. For the Brno race, it will be Ducati's works rider in the World Superbike Michel Fabrizio to take that position.