Before the start of the Austin GP, Stefan Bradl and Livio Suppo (HRC Team Principal) met with 200 students at the University of Texas taking part in an Engineering Lecture which deeply impressed the US students fascinated by the Honda RC213V displayed on the stage.
Bradl said, “In the first race in Qatar we demonstrated that we have the pace for a top-five result. We are not far away from the front group but unfortunately the first GP finished badly for us. After the bad experience in Qatar I am really looking forward to Austin and I presume the things will be much better there. I know the track already because I was there for the private test some weeks ago and I strongly want to repeat our speed and consistency. This race will be fun for us and for the fans. For the second time, I turned into a teacher for a group of University students yesterday and I had a good time: these guys are very intelligent and really passionate in motorbikes so I happy to be on the stage with my bike”.
According to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport Casey Stoner may be meditating the idea to wildcard this year in two MotoGP rounds, at Phillip Island (October 20) and at Motegi (October 27) and riding his previous bike, the Honda RC213V.
The rumor apparently originated from an important Australian businessman who has interests in the V8 Supercars championship, where Stoner will shortly be debuting in the Dunlop V8 series with Red Bull’s Australia Racing team, and the retired MotoGP champion just received his licence to compete (he was given a waiver on the usual qualifications).
Returning to the rumor, the two MotoGP race dates wouldn’t coincide with the Dunlop championship schedule, and Shuhei Nakamoto did say after Stoner’s retirement that the door was open for a eventual return, “if he ever decides to come back he will find a warm welcome waiting. I told him that’s always on offer.”
Livio Suppo Repsol Honda’s new Team Principal, was also asked about the rumor said: “It would be very nice, but at the moment not to my knowledge. Obviously if Casey wanted to, there would be no problem.”
Whether Stoner will return remains just speculation, but can anyone not imagine the Australian rider/driver returning to Phillip Island where he won for six consecutive years and blitzing the field just like Troy Bayliss did during the Valencia GP in 2006?
Besides the two riders, also present were HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto, Livio Suppo, who has been promoted from HRC’s Communications and Marketing director to Team Principal (the same role he had in Ducati before leaving) Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and the riders managers Alberto Puig and Emilio Alzamora.
Despite rumors of a livery revamp, the bikes have just been tweaked a little, with much more white added to the paint job and it loses its previous dark blue, and the Repsol logo now slopes upwards towards the front - instead of downwards like last year, giving the bikes a more sleel look.
The former manager detailed some of the negotiations they had between Yamaha and Honda, and tried to clear the air once and for all and stop the speculation that reason behind the divorce was due to the fact that his former client was unaware of certain details before renewing with Yamaha, and also unaware that Honda had further upped their offer - which Lorenzo confirmed to be completely false.
Hirsch said, “We had fifteen basic points to decide whether to chose one bike or the other, and several of these were more important than the salary. Monday after the post race test at Barcelona, we went to dinner with Nakamoto [HRC Vice President] and Livio Suppo, with who we already discussed certain important points of the negotiation by email. The conversation was cordial and before they gave us an offer, I asked them if this was the best that they could offer Jorge. Nakamoto replied, “it’s better than the one we offered Stoner so he wouldn’t quit, and we are not going into a bidding war with Yamaha because it isn’t ethical nor correct between Japanese companies.” They wanted to field Marquez next to him [this was before the rookie rule was officially abolished] and we agreed to give them an answer by June 8th. Suppo told me that it was a good offer and Yamaha couldn’t equal it.
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.
Following Italian MotoGP gossip is better than any reality show, this latest rumor comes from Sportmediaset.com (yes, always them) who is upsetting Casey Stoner fans with the idea that their champion is thinking of retiring at the end of this season.
Everyone knows that the Stoner just loves to race, but doesn’t like all the BS that surrounds the paddock nor does he always enjoy answering questions and explaining himself, and of late has hinted that he won’t be dragging out this racing career for many years, and with wife Adriana who has been his shadow over these last year’s is now at home with newborn daughter Alessandra, the Australian is starting to feel a little homesick.
Stoner’s contract with Repsol Honda expires at the end of the season and negotiations are already on the table and he has already shown and obtained everything that any rider could want and money never has really been his end game, so many are now doubting that he’ll want to continue and and when Livio Suppo (who orchestrated Stoner’s behind the scenes switch to Honda) was asked if this could be a possibility or just an assumption, Honda’s marketing manager replied, “With Casey this possibility is always realistic. If you ask me, I say that I don’t know, but it is something I’m afraid of. He thinks with his own head and knows what he wants. If he decides to stop I could even understand it, even if I have the feeling that he’ll continue. ”
Casey Stoner has signed with Honda HRC and will be riding for the Japanese manufacturer next season. This bombshell comes straight from Italian news website Sportmediaset and confirms the gossip that Livio Suppo was avidly trying to take Casey Stoner away from Ducati.
According to the Italians, Casey Stoner was not happy that Marlboro tried to sign Jorge Lorenzo last year when the Australian went on his three race sickness hiatus and that Honda has not been exactly jumping with joy with Dani Pedrosa especially after his hard and public criticisms, before his second place podium in Jerez.
Sportmediaset is also reporting that Ducati knowing that Stoner was leaving, immediately offered Valentino Rossi a two year contract with them. The two year contract also contains certain options that should appeal to the work ethics and independent attitude of the 9 times World Champion. Rossi has to the Mugello race in June to decide if he wants to ride for Borgo Panigale.
Silly season has now taken a new turn and it’s only the beginning.
Source | sportmediaset.it
Italian website gpone.com has contacted Livio Suppo, the Honda Marketing manager has denied that Stoner has already signed with the Japanese manufacturer.
The question is do we trust what Suppo’s says or is it a smokescreen to avoid in house problems with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso?
When Livio Suppo made his shock switch Honda HRC after eleven years in Ducati to become Honda’s marketing manager many hinted, including Loris Capirossi, that Suppo’s first big move in 2010 would be try to lure Casey Stoner away from Ducati into the Honda factory team.
Suppo has gotten a jump start on the 2011 silly season and on Monday evening after the test session at Jerez, the Italian spent a long time with Casey Stoner and his dad Colin (Casey’s manager) in Stoner’s motorhome, negotiating Stoner’s eventual move to Honda next year.
Stoner has always stated that he would like to finish his career in Ducati, but will he be able to resist the sirens of Honda, especially when they come from Suppo, the man who strenously defended him during the Australian’s then mysterious illness?
Livio Suppo was with Ducati for over eleven years and followed Ducati’s MotoGP project since its origins along with Claudio Domenicalli and the great Filippo Preziosi, and for seven years he was Ducati’s point man making not so easy decisions and taking the flack when things didn’t always go well especially this season with Casey Stoner’s mysterious illness and three race pullout.
Suppo decided to move on and will be Honda this year, not as a team or project manager the role he had in Ducati, but his job will be to find new sponsors for the Japanese team.
Website moto.it has a very long and comprehensive interview (also audio, but in Italian) with Suppo and we’ve decided to translate some of the most interesting parts. The Italian manager touches a lot of bases, Ducati’s MotoGP project, to the 2003 negotiations with Valentino Rossi, the decision to send Troy Bayliss away, the other riders who’ve ridden the Desmosedici, Casey Stoner and Stoner’s 2009 season.
At the Valencia GP pre-race press conference Casey Stoner talked about Livio Suppo leaving Ducati confirming his excellent relationship with the Italian manager despite rumors and speculation that want Stoner behind Suppo’s unexpected move to Honda HRC.
“Livio’s played a big part not only in my success but in the whole success of Ducati. He’s been there a long, long time, from the beginning of the MotoGP project. He’s done a fantastic job and I think everyone in this room would agree with me, no matter how much they like or dislike him. You know I’ve had an excellent relationship with Livio. You know a lot of people tried to push us apart when I was away in Australia, and you know it’s wrong basically. Nobody understood what was happening. Livio was there for me the whole time, was there we were in contact making sure I was ok, emailing every second or third day just to make sure everything was going well and seeing if he could do anything for me. You know it’s going to be a big loss to the team. I wish him well in his future dealings. It definitely would have been nice to see out my career with Ducati with him.”
You can hear Stoner’s entire interview here.