Previously, we established that the Ducati Engineers have to come up with something to end the long lasting front-end issue of the Ducati MotoGP bike.
If you haven’t read part-one of this post: Rossi-Ducati Vs. Stoner-Honda, you might want to read it first, and come back to this post.
2011 MotoGP season hasn’t turned out to be a good one for Rossi-Ducati relationship. Rossi and Nicky only managed to secure one podium each in 16 races so far. Some has claimed that Casey Stoner left a winning bike, and that Rossi should have won on it straight away. Nicky never managed a single win on it for 3 years, anyway.
Coming back to post, the reason of comparing the development skills of the two riders; Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, is that some of my fellows have taken credit away from Rossi for his championships won on Yamaha, especially the first season with them.
Casey’s Bike Development Skills:
Let’s hear the Casey Stoner’s story first. Looking at his career, he hasn’t won a single 125cc or 250cc championship, although there was some brilliance in his 125cc and 250cc era. He then came into MotoGP in 2006, riding a Honda. He got a pole and one second position. Then he saw Ducati knocking on his door, and it turned out to be a dream season in 2007, as he won the championship, securing 10 wins starting from the season opener in Qatar. However, Ducati caught other manufacturers by surprise as the Ducati had a clear advantage of top-speed, and on the circuits with longer straights; Casey was uncatchable. Then the decline of the Ducati began; Rossi took the title in 2008, defended in 2009, and Jorge Lorenzo won the title last year. Casey secured 6, 4 and then 3 wins respectively during those seasons, and finally he jumped to a Honda and 2011.
Honda, which was already well sorted in the second half of the 2010 MotoGP season, Casey managed to start strong on it, and finally won the title last time out in Phillip Island. He is now the 2011 MotoGP World Champion! Congratulations to him, truly deserved title. Casey hails Dani Pedrosa’s development skills and celebrates the title, great! However, I missed the development skills of Casey Stoner during my post. Well, the statistics will tell. Read on!
In 2007, Casey jumped to a sorted bike in Ducati (I would call it sorted as he didn’t develop the bike, it was given to him), and won the title. Then obviously, Ducati followed his lead, and his feedback regarding the development, and as I see it, there began the downfall. Today, the Ducati had been developed in a way that it can only be ridden by Casey, and won by him – but with the chance of binning it as well. In 2011, he jumped to a well sorted bike in Honda, and won on it. Nice development skills there! So, in short, either Casey doesn’t have the development skills or he hasn’t got a chance to show it yet (as some might say).
Rossi’s Bike Development Skills:
Now let’s see how did Rossi go. Valentino Rossi has won a title in each class of MotoGP racing; winning the title one year later after entering each of them. He now has seven MotoGP titles, with one each in 125cc and 250cc classes. He won his first three MotoGP titles on Honda, and then he made a controversial switch to rivals Yamaha (who hadn’t won a championship for a decade). As I’ve read, people comment the 2004 Yahama MotoGP bike to have been radically changed already and an improved one – capable of winning. So, Rossi didn’t develop that bike as some of you have quoted. He was presented with the best bike on the grid, and he just won on it. Rossi won the championship in 2004, and broke many records the following year. He then had a run of bad luck in 2006, and blew his chance of winning the title even then, by crashing out of pole position at Valencia when he was 8 points ahead of Nicky Hayden in the championship. Nicky Hayden was consistent that season, and won the championship. Rossi couldn’t lift the title again in 2007, but he came back strong in 2008. He became the first person to lift the title again after two years, and then defended his title successfully against Jorge Lorenzo in 2009, who pushed him to the limit.
Rossi suffered a crash in Mugello and broke his leg, in 2010 and that was the end of the title challenge for him. Although, he was the strongest in the post 2009 and pre-2010 testing sessions. Jorge Lorenzo won the title on Yamaha in 2010, and Rossi then made a switch to Ducati –ending his seven years relationship with Yamaha. Rossi knew that the Ducati had a front-end issue and he was going to take not an easy ride – but a difficult one. On the other hand, Casey Stoner switched to a well sorted Honda.
Rossi struggled this year on Ducati while Casey won the title on Honda. Comparing the wins of Ducati and Yamaha riders during the 2007-2010, we could clearly see that 99% of the Ducati wins/podiums came from Casey Stoner, while Yamaha riders, Rossi and Jorge won the championships on it. So, it is clear that the Yamaha bike had been developed in such a way that it can be ridden by a number of riders and more comfortable. So, did Jorge develope that bike? No. Did Rossi develop that bike? I would like to think so, yes! However, some would disagree. They say that bike is developed by Engineers and not riders. Riders don’t know anything about the bike, they just ride and provide feedback to engineers who in turn make the bike and the parts!
Then I would not be wrong to conclude that Casey hasn’t won a title on a not-well-sorted bike yet. Both Ducati and Honda titles were won on well-sorted bikes. So, his development skills don’t come into play in winning the championships. Some would also claim that similar could be said about Rossi, but in my opinion, there is more to it than it meets the eye. You’ve to have give some credit to Rossi for this work at Yamaha. He brought them four titles, defended each first of them and Yamaha won triple crown for three years in a row with him and Jorge on board.
I do not question the riding ability of Casey Stoner and of course, Valentino Rossi’s. In my opinion, titles won by both the riders have been truly deserved and they should be given credit for that. The difference between the two is that now Casey has a good bike in Honda and he’s super fast on it. However, Rossi has to buy time and claw his way back to the top once again, but riding a Ducati now, and I’m sure we’ll see him action next year when the 1000cc come.
P.S.: I think, I should have added more at the end… will work on it later.