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GP Week : Issue 165
22 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Racing. Don’t you just love it. And hate it. Sometimes at the same time. We can only imagine the contrasts of emotions going through Casey Stoner ’s mind, as he recovers from surgery to the right ankle he smashed so badly in that vicious high-side at Indianapolis. Among them will be both relief and resentment. Relief from having to motivate himself, when in his heart it’s already all over. Resentment at being denied the fight for a valedictory World Championship – for a fight was always the motivation anyway. Given the above, some doubters were left wondering after his hasty exit from Brno, cancelling all appointments at short notice citing a stern dictum from his doctor, whether it would be for good. Will Casey come back from this? Since the 26-year-old Australian stunned everybody back at rainy Le Mans, announcing what everyone else saw as a very premature retirement, he has unburdened himself of many complaints about racing, his reasons for having had enough. All heart-felt and sincere – he’s a lover of true racing, dismayed at Dorna’s unstoppable drive towards dumbed-down showmanship and low-rent technicalities. And he’s right about everything, if a bit out of tune with contemporary austerity and commercial drive. Now racing, with its implacable injustice, has bitten him back. Casey didn’t take it lying down. He raced the next day at treacherous Indianapolis, to a fourth place. Astonishingly determined, wearing a special oversize boot that fixed his ankle in one position. But at that stage, he still had a chance in the championship. That’s clearly gone. In his absence it’s become a straight (and after Brno rather intriguing) fight between the two calculating Spaniards – the Dani and Jorge show. The attraction of returning only to play a bit part is not strong. On the other side, there are several baited hooks that might attract. One is the chance to make an absolute clean sweep at his home GP in Australia – another win would be his sixth in a row at the fine track beside the seaside. Another is the influence only he can bring to bear on the Dani-Jorge production. He is the sole rider fast enough to get among the pair and play havoc with their plans. It would go down very well with Honda should he be willing to tilt the board in Repsol team-mate Dani’s favour. In the end, I believe the alarmist talk is so much twaddle. I’m sure Casey won’t turn up his toes at any last chances he can get to race his RC213V, beautiful beast that it is. And to put one or more over on those who he will leave to race among themselves next year. I look forward to him proving me right. OPINION MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor A SAD CASEY OPINION