Marlboro: Stoner Should Apologize

09/28/2009 @ 9:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS


The Portuguese GP is only a handful of days away, and already the talk about the return of Casey Stoner to MotoGP racing is becoming a fervor. Absent for over a month now, Stoner’s return to the MotoGP is expected to be both anti-climatic in results, but monumental in quieting the circulating rumors.

Likely to disappoint any remaining fans, the young Australian is out of any points contention for the Championship, and isn’t expected to be on his A-game come this Sunday. Making matters worse are the clearly strained relations within the Ducati team and Stoner, as well as with title sponsor Marlboro cigarettes. Recently Maurizio Arrivabene, the most senior executive inside Philip Morris’ motorsports division stated he hopes “Stoner has the decency to apologize to the team in Portugal.”

Harsh, but expected words, Arrivabene goes on to chastise the GP rider by saying that “there are many of Ducati’s Borgo Panigale employees who wouldn’t stay at home with a stomach ache, especially in times of economic crisis.”


Stoner is reportedly already in Europe, and making his way to Estoril for the GP. With rumors flying everywhere that the Australian won’t make his resurgence back into racing at Estoril, or could be absent from Ducati in 2010, there certainly is a lot of idle speculation going on in the MotoGP paddock (fanned mostly by the Italian press). However,  we haven’t seen anything that would make us believe that Casey Stoner won’t be on the grid in Estoril come Sunday morning. Time will tell, but we’re expecting a very interesting press conference after the race.

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  • jake

    Maurizio Arrivabene is an idiot. How many of those employees have to muscle a 200+ HP bike around a race track against the skill levels of Rossi & Co? So yeah a “stomach ache” might be a bigger deal than someone sitting in an office talking on the phone all day.

  • bill

    he may have to muscle a 200+ HP bike around against rossi & co, but he’s well compensated for it, probably a tad more than your typical ducati employee. moreover, he’s paid that kind of bank to appear ON the track, ON the bike, not on a fishing vacation while he’s “recovering.” stoner didn’t help himself by making it clear through his comments that he was mostly just unable to muster the mental toughness he’s being paid for. sorry, no pity here. he should apologize to the team, to the investors in his talent as well as the people whose livelihood depends on him getting his head out of his ass and racing.

  • I love how “armchair” racers like Bill act as if they know exactly what was going on in Stoner’s mind and body. As if they could even hang on to that bike at half speed in perfect health!

    Professional motorcycle racers are super-human. They are faster than us mere mortals can ever be and they risk the sanctity of their bodies without fear. These guys break bones and are back on the bike as soon as they can get them wrapped. Casey Stoner is not only a professional motorcycle racer. He’s one of the best and fastest. A “stomach ache” is not going to sideline him. He’s tough as nails and would make Mr. Bill look like a sissy in any activity you care to mention. There was obviously more going on than is being told in the news.

    I wish people would put their feet into the other person’s shoes before they’re so quick to judge them.

    Stoner can apologize if he wishes, but I think Arrivabene and people like Bill are the ones who should be apologizing. Stoner was sick, too sick to ride. Top-level racers in the championship hunt do not “go on fishing vacations” unless there’s a damn good reason.

    You want to insult professional athletes? How about the rookie NFL players coming out of college and refusing to play until they’re paid more money? That’s just one example of many that can be brought out.

    Mental toughness my ass. Let’s see you get on the track on that bike with an illness. Those bikes are beasts and are nothing like your cushy little street bike. He obviously knew he’d be a danger to himself and his competitors if he rode while ill.

    Give the guy a break. He’s more than proven himself. Think before you talk/write.

  • mxs

    Well said Gary ….

  • Anti-Gary

    I love people like Gary that will defend their idols to no avail. Nobody is questioning the guys skills or how he got there. Obviously he is a great rider or he wouldnt be at this level. It’s also a privledge.

    I love the always intelligent arguement of “lets see you get on the bike”… good one…. why dont we all do that. Or why don’t we switch topics to Rookie NFL players… this isn’t dummy.

    The fact is Stoner is and always will be a little b!tch. He has cried at every opportunity when things have not gone his way. Should he apologize? Of course he should apologize… sponsors like Marlboro dump miillions into this sport so that it can exist (and people like you can hang on his nutz)… like it or not. Stoner decided to mail it in this season because of an admitted mental break down. Try doing that at your office/work see how well that goes over.

  • morpheous

    One thing is certain, we (the public) will never know the truth about his condition. You have to realize that for an elite level athlete to stop the very activity that they are being paid for or have worked their whole career for, there must be a real and good cause (be it mental or physical). Doctors orders boys. And an unfortunate situation for all involved. This kid CAN ride and has tamed the orange beast like no other. Give him his due. Peace.

  • bill

    it’s a disappointment that the response is ad hominem, rather than offering some sort of argument as to why i’m wrong. i never even said i didn’t like stoner. he’s the only guy on the planet, as far as i can tell, that can win on the desmosedici. i also never said that he just had a stomach ache. i think his absence from the grid has very little to do with physical ailment, and very much to do with where his head is, based on his own remarks. i don’t pretend to know what the guy’s dealing with, i can only go on what he says.

    but we’re not arguing about his skills, or his fitness (nor mine, for that matter, to the extent you seem to think it relevant), but rather his obligations to his team, sponsors and fans. lest we forget, the rider is but the business end of a whole team of folks whose livelihoods rest at least in part of the performance of the team.

    when your rider takes a sabbatical because he’s struggling with his desire for/enjoyment of his sport (again, casey’s remarks), it’s at best a let-down for the team. I’m not questioning his decision to sit out some races (though I bet his team didn’t like seeing the photos of casey fishing, perhaps trying to hook his loss of heart), but I do think he owes something to the team and sponsors. This ain’t a charity; factory GP riders are compensated well enough to be expected to “suck it up” and ride when they don’t want to.

    I sincerely hope that this doesn’t damage his career, because he’s an amazing rider (and his success is important to ducati, a small manufacturer competing with giants), but from a business standpoint, it certainly raises questions about the soundness of the investment he represents.

  • Jeff

    Like every bad horror movie, Stoner sees Rossi behind him every time he looks in the mirror. I love VR46, but that would scramble my eggs as well.