Who cares about Lebron? Stoner is coming to Honda!
Date: July 09, 2010 15:25
Today Honda Racing Corporation has announced that Casey Stoner will be racing a factory Honda in the 2011 season. Stoner is clearly one of the 4 best riders in the championship and has been the most successful rider in the 800 cc era other than Valentino Rossi. He is also the only rider to decisively beat Rossi to a title in the premier class.
Stoner's move to Honda was the worst kept secret in the paddock, starting at the end of last season when Ducati team manager Livio Suppo joined HRC as the marketing manager. It was widely assumed that he was specifically hired in order to secure the services of Stoner, and to that end he has delivered.
What is left to be resolved at this point, is the structure of the team. Both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso have clauses in their contract that guarantee their spots on the Repsol Honda squad if they were in 5th place or better at a certain point in the season. Both riders are currently in the top 5 and are likely to remain so, thus it is unlikely that Stoner will be in Repsol colors next season. The rumored solution to this dilemma has been that Red Bull will pony up the sponsorship dollars for a one-man Stoner team. This is the same setup Rossi ran under in his first two 500GP seasons (Rossi's team was Nastro Azzurro* Honda). Stoner's current Ducati crew chief will be coming with him.
It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Dani Pedrosa. In Moto GP Stoner has 20 wins and a title to Pedrosa's 7 wins, but when they battled in the 250GP class in 2005, it was Pedrosa who was the victor (8 wins to 5).
With Stoner, Pedrosa, and Dovizioso on the roster, it will be Honda's strongest rider lineup since 2003 when Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Sete Gibernau, and Max Biaggi will all riding for Big Red. However, a major challenge with the 'stacked deck' approach is how to develop the bike so that it works for all three riders. Typically Honda develops to the desires of the rider getting the best results but since Stoner is new to the team, will they follow his lead or one of the incumbents?
+Stoner is blazingly fast from the first flying lap of the weekend
+Comfortable with the bike moving around
+Can beat Rossi
-Can get frustrated and angry easily
-Mouth could get him in trouble
-Sometimes a crasher
*Nastro Azzurro is a terrible beer. Do not buy it.
Last edited by JMU R1 on
July 09, 2010 15:29