We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the incident between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at the Spanish GP (if you haven’t seen the race yet, stop reading now). Charging to overtake Stoner at Turn 1, Rossi found himself going too hot into the turn, and too heavy on the brakes. With Stoner swinging wide to let Rossi through, the Italian went up the inside of Casey’s line, tucked the front, and the rest is history.

While Stoner would later call the crash a “racing incident” in his press debrief, he still chastised his counterpart for making a rash move and an apology that seemed more like a media stunt than a sincere gesture. For the Australian that got shunned by the marshals in the gravel trap, and watched a few laps from behind the guardrail, this weekend certainly seemed like a rough result because of an incident where he made no fault.

Insult was perhaps added to injury as Rossi continued on with his race (Stoner clapping as the Italian came by Turn 1 the very next lap, a sarcastic gesture for Rossi’s move and outcome), and then went on to finish the race with a fifth place result. Coming into the Repsol Honda garage with several TV cameras in tow, Rossi apologized to Stoner, with the following interaction occurring between the two riders (find it after the jump).

Stoner: “How’s your shoulder? Is it okay?”
Rossi: “I’m very sorry.”
Stoner: “Okay. You have some problem with your shoulder?”
Rossi: “I make a mistake”
Stoner: “Yeah. Obviously your ambition outweighed your talent.”
Rossi: “Eh?”
Stoner: “Ambition is more than the talent.”
Rossi: “I’m very sorry.”
Stoner: “No problem.”

While TV cameras always follow the nine-time World Champion wherever he goes in the MotoGP paddock, the point was made in the post-race debriefs that this is something Valentino is acutely aware of, and has so cleverly manipulated over the years. While Stoner would have preferred a gesture behind closed doors (very much in his own style and private character), Rossi instead put on a show for everyone to see (very much a part of his style and character).

Having perhaps some more time to think about the situation, the two riders made the following comments in their press releases:

Casey Stoner: “We made a good start to the race and the bike felt good for the first few laps, then the tyres seemed to move a little so we tried to conserve them in case it rained again. I really wanted the chance to fight the Spanish riders here in a dry race, so it was disappointing for me that that it was wet.  However, we were competitive here in the wet and dry and this is very important for us – at a track that hasn’t been that great for me in the past. After so much hard work, I hate to have a race like this because the team did a great job all weekend and now we go home empty handed. With the accident, I heard Valentino arriving and I wasn’t worried about anyone passing me at that point in the race so I gave him plenty of room. It was a racing incident and there’s not much we can do, what is more frustrating is the reaction of the stewards and their assistance for Valentino and not for me, it was unbelievable. I want to just get to the next race now in Estoril, where I’m sure we can be competitive again.”

Valentino Rossi: “Today in the wet we had a great chance for me to make my first podium with Ducati, or even to get my first win. I felt good, both with the bike and my shoulder, because I could brake where I wanted to rather than where I’m forced to in the dry, since I still don’t have the necessary strength. The bike is very fast in the wet. I was advancing really well, and I’m sorry to have made that mistake and thrown away such an opportunity. While braking for the first corner, I entered a bit long, and although I tried to stay to the inside, I lost the front and couldn’t stay up. I’m sorry, because I also took out Stoner, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I apologized to him, and I’m truly sorry; it was a mistake. It’s a shame because we really could have gotten some satisfaction, but we’ll keep trying. We’re still not so fast in the dry, but we’re working hard. Anyway today’s fifth place gave us eleven points that are very important in the championship.”

While the cooler heads prevailed later in the day, and we doubt we’ll see the two riders slapping each other in the paddock anytime soon, both have made their points, and racing is racing. We’ll see how much fire this gives Stoner come Estoril in four week’s time. We imagine the Australian will be out to prove a point, and Ducati will be out with new parts for the GP11. Good stuff all around, but we have a feeling the Spanish and Italian press aren’t done with this story yet.

  • cheyenne

    So the cameras followed Rossi into the Repsol garage, big deal. They even followed Jules Cluzel when he went into Marc Marquez’s garage to apologize, even if Cluzel wasn’t wearing a helmet when he did it.

  • lutherg

    I did notice that the marshalls, after struggling to get the honda off rossi, virtually ignored Stoner. As stoner indicates elsewhere, Stoner could not restart his bike because the slipper clutch system makes a push start virtually impossible. Rossi, however had kept his bike running, a fact the marshalls no doubt noticed when they were trying to pick the bike up. So perhaps the marshalls heard the ducati running and helped it up before it was damaged, and didn’t do anything with the honda because it was not running.

    Or maybe the Marshalls just don’t like stoner because he is such an incredible whiner.

  • Other Sean

    Ha! Good points lutherg. Guess we’ve found the chink in the armor of this fantastic new clutch Honda is using.

  • Cpt.Slow

    It’s just me but maybe they found it prudent (in the short time they had to make a decision) to help the guy stuck under two bikes (one of which was still running) before the one that was already standing up?

  • Chance Gray

    If Stoner was in Jorge’s position he wouldn’t be crying like a baby, as usual!

  • 76

    Rossi runs on tiger blood

  • I think that Stoner is the man with the right bike this year. no one was hurt and that was good and the Dr. was lucky but not fare.

  • cdm

    Stoner is questioning Rossi’s talent? UFB

  • dosed

    When the marshals reached the two riders, Rossi was STANDING, trying to pull his bike up, while Stoner was already pushing his bike back, ready to try starting it…
    …So many people lie, since the recording was all over youtube. Marshals helped Rossi to get his bike up, while he was standing fine on his own two legs, and all 7 of them helped him pushing the bike, and padding his back. Ignoring Stoner’s gestures.
    Stop lying people. They have no excuse.

  • Casey

    if you were a marshal, who would you’ve helped?

  • Patron

    It was a racing incident. Too many variables to point fingers and place blame for anything past Rossi causing the crash IMO. Rossi and Stoner will have moved on way before all the fanatics and haters do. That is guaranteed.

    That being said, I dont think cameras following Rossi into HRC to appologize was avoidable as he wanted to do it the moment he got off the bike. Nor do I think it was a big deal. The commentators were giddy like school girls as he was walking over. Stoners comments were a clear dig at Vale (a dig which even Casey knows isnt true) but was great to see him say it anyway. Why not poke at Rossi? I love VR, but he is not above having a little trash talk thrown his way. And Casey isnt the whiner lots of people make him out to be. He speaks his mind. Says neg and pos things when they happen. He is fast as hell and I love how he races and stayes true to who he is off the bike.

    Both these guys are great racers. Fun to watch. But I’m behind Spies this season. Too bad he binned it while in second.

  • mickey

    That picture is awesome. Look at Rossi holding onto that clutch to keep the bike running.

  • Ades

    As far as the “Ambition outweighing talent” quip goes, for those that are not familiar, it is a term used here in Oz to describe such incidents, and are done with tongue firmly in cheek. Usually, it’s used on Rookies………. This time, it was definitely used in the right context.

    Stoner isn’t “moaning”, he’s pissed off that Rossi stuffed it with such an amateur move. I’m sure if any one of you were fast enough to ride in a factory Moto GP team AND be able to compete for wins, you might have something to say if it was you………

  • Chris

    There is no winner in this one. Casey handled this incident badly, with heavy sarcasm. All this shows that he still hasn’t got his head right, he hasn’t got the mental attitude of a true champion – yet.

    Casey is arguably the rider in the field with the most talent and this year is going to be a cracking championship. I have seen Casey several times trackside at Phillip Island and his riding takes your breath away – just jaw-dropping to see him sliding the corners, smoking tyres with so much control. Unfortunately he is still quite immature and shows a lot of child-like behaviours when things aren’t going his way.

    And blaming the marshals – marshals are everyday joes who get a free weekend pass to hang around trackside and pickup the odd bike. What Marshal wouldn’t run to aid the GOAT over Stoner ? In Australia the result may have been different and there would have been no complaints.

    Rossi is a desperate man on a desperately lacking bike. His star is on the fall, Yamaha demonstrated that to him, and he is beating up more people on track in messy ways that belong in a different era.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Contrary to the army of yellow Rossi zombies all over the internet, I applaud Stoner for his comments to Rossi after the race. Quite well said actually, and even if he is taking a shot at Rossi…so what? Rossi deserves it. If anything, I think Rossi is the one who comes off looking like a chump…not even taking the time to remove his helmet when apologizing to Stoner. Maybe if he had, he would have better understood what Stoner was telling him.

  • Dr. Gellar

    By the way, that picture with it’s quotes and all would make for a great card… :-)

  • I like Dr. Gellar. Comment (taking the time to remove his helmet when apologizing to Stoner. Maybe if he had, he would have better understood what Stoner was telling him.)

    Thanks You Dr.

  • Jeram

    stoner handled it badly???

    let me remind you that some 10 years ago, rossis team manager slogged biaggi over the head with a helmet on the stairs leading to podium…

    this was nothing…

  • Mike J

    Stoner is an exepionaly talented rider with the attitude of a sulking, self obsessed child. Every racer makes mistakes. Look back at Stoner’s carer in motoGP and you’ll find he’s spent a fair amount of time slinging his machinery at the scenery. And as for “ambition outweighing talent”, is that what was going on every time he slapped that Ducati into the pavement last year… I thought he blamed it on the bike? So when someone else loses the front end it’s their fault, but when he loses the front end it’s also someone else’s fault… mmmm?

  • jake

    they didnt help stoner because he is going to take the title from lorenzo. Spanish marshals helping lorenzo by stopping stoner from getting points. Stoner is a ‘true’ champion (2007), i think if u guys raced motorcycles u would understand stoners comments a little better.

  • Chris

    Comparing to anything involving biaggi is pointless. Everyone in race circles hates biaggi, so anything he cops is applauded.

    A ‘ true’ champion doesn’t blame or offer excuses why they aren’t winning. Stoner won in 2007 because he was sitting, compared to the rest of the paddock, on a missile. Same as max in wsbk last year.

    Stoner really needs to work on his mental game to be a ‘true’ champion. Lorenzo saw the value in getting your head right, he’s worked extensively on his attitude, and in 2010 it paid off bigtime.

    Oh, and i’ve raced bikes and cars for more than 20 years. And you dont need to be a racer to see that stoner needs help on his mental game. Last year that was painfully obvious.

  • UlyssesRider

    Too bad for Stoner, but that’s racing. Rossi was not the only bloke who went down in the slick, wet conditions. Hopefully Estoril will be dry and we can see Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa duke it out on a dry track. I can hardly wait. Personally, I want Ducati to spank the Orientals!

  • Tony W

    I agree with UlyssesRider – “That’s racing!” Stoner is talented but Rossi has been king of the hill for a while now. Now if Rossi intentionally took Stoner out then that might be a different story. If you watched the entire race, none of the Honda’s could be push started. If I was a Marshall, I would tell Stoner, ain’t going to happen, besides I would probably just puke up my burrito trying to push this thing that won’t start anyway!

  • jake

    ill pay that chris. im getting annoyed because now stoner is on a good bike everyone says its the bike, but when he was on the poor handling ducatti last yr, it was the rider. now rossi cant even ride a more refined version of the thing stoner won on, shows stoners talent.

  • Chris

    Agree ! World champions Melandri, Hayden, couldn’t ride the Ducati either, will Rossi be any different ? So far, it doesn’t really look like it. Stoner put it on the podium plenty of times last year, and Ducati reward him by trying to poach Lorenzo for three times what they were paying Stoner. You can see why Casey referes to the Ducati management people as two-faced liars… he should have jumped ship after 2008 he proabably would have had another title under his belt by now.

  • xavi

    ducati bikes are crap i wonder how stoner won races with ducati bikes