Casey Stoner tones down criticism of Valentino Rossi’s Laguna Seca riding
Having had four weeks to digest his Laguna Seca defeat, Casey Stoner has conceded that criticism of Valentino Rossi’s racing tactics immediately after their epic US GP battle may have been an over reaction.
Stoner had won the three races prior to Laguna Seca, where he comfortably led every track session leading up to the race – when Rossi launched a thrilling all-out attack to smother the Australian’s performance advantage.
In his desperation to prevent the Ducati Marlboro star escaping, Rossi produced some thrilling overtaking moves – some of which Stoner, whose victory challenge finally ended in a small fall, branded as “the most aggressive I’ve seen in a long time”.
A visibly angry Stoner initially refused to shake Rossi’s hand after the race and also stated that he had lost respect for the seven time world champion. Rossi rejected any suggestion that his moves had been out-of-order, declaring ‘this is racing’.
When asked on Thursday if his view of the race has since changed Stoner, who will start this weekend’s Czech Republic Grand Prix 25 points from Rossi, confessed that he may have over reacted – but pointed out that Rossi had previously criticised Toni Elias for very similar reasons.
“Like all riders we react in the way that we do sometimes,” replied Stoner, who shook hands with Rossi in the Brno pre-event press conference. “I think Valentino [has made similar] comments from what Toni has done in the past. I think at the time maybe we overreacted.”
Either way, MotoGP fans will doubtless be hoping that Rossi and Stoner can pick up where they left off during this weekend’s Brno event – when Stoner, winner of last year’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, will be aiming to go the full race distance.
“I am going to hopefully just be putting up more of a fight in the last few laps this time,” added the #1. “It would be nice if I can put pressure on right up until the last lap.”
“Valentino [said that] seven races [to the end of the season] is a long time, but for us it’s a short time!” commented Casey, referring to the task he faces in hunting down the Fiat Yamaha rider. “We always need more races, but we can only do what we can do.”
Stoner added that he doesn’t expect to try anything radical during the post-race test session on Monday and Tuesday, and is happy with the package he already has. Rossi is expected to try revised electronics at Brno this weekend.
Showers are reportedly a possibility on Friday and Saturday.