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GP Week : Issue 4
5 Minutes with ... Casey stoner GPWEEK: You started racing pretty young. When did you realise that you were as good as you are. CASEY STONER: I started at four years old. I suppose I only realised in recent years. Before then I just enjoyed the sport. It’s only once you get a little bit older that you realise … that this is actually real life, not a dream. What makes you better than the other guys? Better at the moment … but I don’t think better than these other guys. There’s a lot of talent out there. It’s going to be very difficult to win the championship again. This year we’ve seen more rookies come out of 250 to go instantly fast in MotoGP. Are the 800s too easy to ride? I think it’s funny, because now everybody just uses the excuse that the 800 is very close to a 250 and this is why we’re fast. But Dani Pedrosa was second in his first race on a 990 coming from 250, James Toseland came from Superbikes to the 800s and was right behind Valentino, on old machinery. I don’t believe this excuse can be used any more. There’s also some criticism now that electronics have made the bikes too easy. Everybody has a different opinion, but I think electronics are more of a safety than a racing issue. Everybody says they’re so easy to ride, then why can’t everybody ride them? Why isn’t everybody this close, if it’s so easy? In your earlier GP years, you slept in a van, shared with Chaz Davies. Do you think about this now? Chaz and I have a good laugh sometimes thinking about it … but this is something usual for us. We needed to do these things to get where we wanted to be, it’s wasn’t a sacrifice. It’s something we had to do. A van with no windows, two beds, and a PlayStation? Yep, pretty much … and a fan if it was a very hot weekend. This was our home for a few seasons. Did that make you stronger? It’s never made us weaker. We didn’t let it affect us in a negative way. How do this year’s Honda and Yamaha compare with your Ducati? Have they caught up? That’s for me to know, and for you to compare! I’ve never tested Honda or Yamaha, so … Ducati definitely has a more competitive package than last year. We struggle at some circuits with tight corners, but now we have a little bit more acceleration, so we can get out of the corner a little faster. We’ve managed to squeeze a few more things out of the bike. Maybe everybody has caught up a little bit, but our package is still capable of winning. You were all but the youngest ever top- class champion. Do you feel young for the job? Not really. I’ve been racing for a lot of years, so I don’t feel young in that sense. Maybe that’s why you got married so young (Stoner was wed at the end of the 2005 season)? I don’t think I got married early. I never dreamed of having a different woman every night. I just wanted one, and I was lucky enough to find the right one. What’s your number one recreation? Still getting on a bike when I can, just to enjoy it. And to be out in nature. I loved learning to ski last winter – going up in the mountains was just fantastic. And I like fishing, things like that. You spoke last year of wanting to travel round Australia, because you left when you were still a young teenager to race in Europe. Did you manage to do that after last season? Nope. I keep trying to plan it, but when I get home I have too many other things to do, and I have to cancel it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the time. You need a week or two, and when I have that time I want to be training, because I don’t want to lose the fitness. He left Australia at age 14 with little in his pocket except his dreams. Now he is a MotoGP Champion. MICHAEL SCOTT spoke to him as he prepared for the Spanish GP 20