Published on 22 May 2012 by Toni M.
Casey Stoner’s retirement announcement shook the world and opened a whole new can of worms for the 2013 silly season. Speculation of who is going where is starting to pop up left and right. We’ve heard rumors that Ducati is taking a good hard look at Cal Crutchlow - to replace whom is left up to your imagination. MCN has a story of why Crutchlow could end up in Repsol Honda on its cover. Valentino Rossi could wind up on either a Yamaha factory bike or back to where it all began for him in MotoGP, on a Honda, with Yamaha’s Lin Jarvis and Honda’s Shuhei Nakamoto no longer counting out the Italian, something that would have been impossible for either of them to imagine just a few months ago.
Spanish website ‘AS’ has published this interview with Livio Suppo - the man behind Casey Stoner’s arrival in Honda - who now will have find a new top rider to replace his beloved Australian. Here’s the translation of the interview that we hope you’ll find interesting.
Mela Chercoles: Will you renew with Pedrosa?
Livio Suppo: “We are only beginning to talk now.”
MC: In a month, Repsol Honda has gone from holding three titles to navigating in a sea of doubts about the future, and this because of Stoner’s retirement ..
LS: I don’t see it in these terms: the immediate future is this year, with two riders who can win races and also the MotoGP world title.”
MC: Could Stoner be influenced somewhat by the fact that he will retire end of the year ?
LS: No, he wants to win another title, and other races: at Le Mans we didn’t win because Yamaha was better than Honda. Dani has had the same rear grip problems as Casey, but in the dry things would have turned out differently. ”
MC: Without Stoner, will Lorenzo will be the strongest rider on the grid in 2013?
LS : The last year seems to confirm it, but in 2010 before his Motegi accident Pedrosa was still faster than he was.
MC: Will you try to get Lorenzo?
LS: It s too early to tell
MC: After 2004 separation are Honda’s doors still open to Rossi? At Yamaha we were told that their doors are still open, but your boss, Nakamoto, in Qatar said that [Rossi ] would never race on a Honda again, while at Le Mans he said that anything is possible …
LS: When Nakamoto said it wouldn’t be possible he had counted on continuing with Casey and Dani. Casey’s retirement however changes things: Rossi began his career in 500 with Honda, and maybe he could end his career with Honda. It would be a good story.
MC:How are your relations with him?
LS: We never worked together, but obviously I have tremendous respect for him. It would be crazy not having any.
MC: What do you think of his battle with Stoner at Le Mans?
LS: It was a good race. The Ducati was strong and Rossi wanted to prove he is still a ‘race animal’. When he smelt the blood he went for it and proved that he’s far from finished . I think his bad results are due in part to the bike in the dry and in part to motivation problems.
MC: It would be a great team with Marquez. Amongst other things Ezpeleta seemed a little less rigid the other day regarding the rookie rule…
LS: The rookie rule may be interesting from the point of view of certain satellite teams, however, it is expensive for the factory manufacturers. When you have a rider that you like, as with Simoncelli for Honda or Spies for Yamaha, you are obliged to back him for at least a year in a satellite team, investing more money in addition to the factory riders, so you find yourself paying three riders. At a time like this, that rule is a problem. ”
MC: Could Stoner’s retirement make it disappear?
LS: It’s being said that in 2013 manufacturers can field only four bikes, so I wonder: can a satellite team afford to ruin their relationship with their sponsors just to field a rider for one year? I’m saying this because Marquez is sponsored by Repsol. I hope that there will soon be the opportunity to reason together on this issue and find a solution.
MC: Stoner said that Marquez would be his natural successor within the Repsol Honda, but that “stupid rule prevents it” …
LS: Casey is Casey.
MC: But on this point he seems to have your same opinion.
LS: Casey has a lot of talent in his right wrist, but he isn’t diplomatic (laughs). Stoner will be leaving and we’ll see what happens, but we are still at the beginning of the season and we must stay focused on that. Marquez is one of the riders that we interested in for 2013, but we don’t want to put any pressure on young riders: neither he nor Fenati or anyone else.
MC: One last question. Stoner is leaving the championship criticizing everything and not thanking anyone …
LS: [Stoner] has infinite talent, but he’s not a diplomat : he says what he thinks. In this world its easier to live if you the know how to lie, but this isn’t his case. ”