Photo of the Week: The Devil You Know

05/07/2012 @ 5:51 pm, by Scott Jones33 COMMENTS

As I listened to Casey Stoner explain how he rode around the flu, a chattering bike, and his latest bout with arm pump to stay just far enough ahead of Jorge Lorenzo to win the final GP at Estoril, I couldn’t help but wonderi how Lorenzo sees his future. It can’t seem as bright as it did at the end of his nearly perfect 2010 season.

Lorenzo had succeeded in mounting so much pressure on his Fiat-Yamaha teammate that Rossi started crashing, and ultimately left Yamaha for Ducati, rather than remain on the same team as the Spaniard. But for Lorenzo, that only exchanged one demon for another, this one in the form on Stoner on a Honda — a combination that now appears pretty much unbeatable over the course of a season.

The 2012 Yamaha M1 is good enough to beat the 2012 Honda RC213V, unless Casey is on it, and not in so much pain that he can barely hang onto the bike. But can Yamaha find enough in its package to make gains even while HRC is continuing to refine its own bike? If not, Lorenzo will have to ride better than Casey Stoner, and as good as Lorenzo is, what a challenge that is to face each race day morning.

To me this is one of the most interesting questions to be told in 2012. Lorenzo on a Yamaha is probably the second most potent combination on motorcycle racing, followed closely by Pedrosa on a Honda. But is the Stoner/HRC package simply too much to catch and pass?

As he puts in his best effort, which I’m sure Jorge will, I hope he can avoid thinking too much about Marc Marquez, who will arrive in 2013. His hands are full now, and next season things could be even worse. So I’m looking forward to watching another great effort, and I’m certain Lorenzo will give it everything he’s got.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Bryan

    “…Lorenzo had succeeded in mounting so much pressure on his Fiat-Yamaha teammate that Rossi started crashing, and ultimately left Yamaha for Ducati…”. Well, and simply put.

  • bemer2six

    Thought Provoking. Time will tell tho. and my money is still on Lorenzo!!

  • john

    the season ain’t over until the phat biatch sings ;-)

    i still have my money on jorge.

  • Westward

    Lorenzo was as the champion of attrition in 2010. Since Rossi will never be on a Honda again, Rossi on a Yamaha, Suzuki, or Kawasaki could beat Stoner and the HRC combo…

    “Lorenzo had succeeded in mounting so much pressure on his Fiat-Yamaha teammate that Rossi started crashing, and ultimately left Yamaha for Ducati…” —

    Rossi’s injured shoulder after the the first round of Qatar in 2010, coupled with a cold tire, is the reason Rossi crashed. Rossi on equal machines and healthy will always beat Lorenzo. Rossi on a mended leg and still hampered shoulder in 2010 proved that at both Motegi and Sepang…

    2011 showed Lorenzo just how fortunate he was, and now 2012 is rattling his confidence so much, that he will be one of the greatest advocates for the return of Rossi…

    The best thing to ever happen to Stoner, is Rossi going to Ducati…

    However, I will say, I feel if Stoner were on this Rossi inspired Ducati, he would be lighting up Lorenzo still…

  • john walker

    i just cant get past this guys post race antics:

    jumping in water after a race
    flag ceremony antics
    giving marco s. a hard time at a press conference for the very thing he has done in the past
    publically stating that he wished he was a porn star…….

    he tries so hard to be someone he isnt. cant be good for the sport

  • BBQdog

    I am no Lorenzo fan at all but I think Lorenzo is more stable under pressure as he has learned his lessons in the years with Rossi. Stoner can get in trouble when thinks work against him.

  • Bryan

    Injuries and mistakes is what happens when you push past your limits when UNDER PRESSURE. Whether in season or off season. Additionally, Rossi had best results when on a Ducati closer to Stoner’s. The Duke is about as responsible for his unfortunate current situation as the Yamaha was for his past situation. Think about it. Checkmate.

  • smilo

    There is a term whinging pom used by Aussies to describe the Brits. However it seems more appropriate to Stacey Coner. Whatever the weather there is something wrong. However Lorenzo just keeps getting on with it and is just a better rider. Stoner has never got the better of anyone psychologically and really only likes to ride and win from the front.
    So Stacey won in Estoril. That does not make the season and I would bet that once the arm pump, chatter, etc are solved then something else will pop up. I just hope Yamahahaha can provide Lorenzo the goods to sort Stoner. He is no ambasador for the sport, is dull to watch and spends his whole time either whinging or in his motorhome.

  • Damo

    What about poor Dani? The one rider in the paddock who pretty much peaked his talent at the most inconvenient time possible.

    To me the biggest disappointment this year isn’t Rossi, we all know the Desmo is bad, the biggest disappointment is Ben Spies.

    I truly bought into the fact that come race day he would be better on the 1000cc machines and he showed great promise in the pre-season. That appears to have all been for not.

  • Ben

    God, what a bunch of halfwits commenting on this story. Average age 15 ? Smilo being the worst of the worst.

    I wont be coming to Asphalt and Rubber for informed comment ever again if this is the standard of the views on offer here. Might as well be reading !

  • pat walker

    west- Rossi on a Yamaha, Suzuki, or Kawasaki could beat Stoner and the HRC combo…

    I can’t stop laughing.

  • Johnnie Deformed

    “Since Rossi will never be on a Honda again, Rossi on a Yamaha, Suzuki, or Kawasaki could beat Stoner and the HRC combo…”

    Yeah, maybe in another reality. In 2010 Rossi was 3rd with 233 pts and 2 wins. Stoner was 4th with 225 and 3 wins. But he was on a Ducati. And Rossi on the unbeatable M1. Stoner even beat Rossi at Aragon, Motegi and Phillip Island. Rossi on the factory bike is barely beating Hector Barbera this season. Anyway, we’ll wait and see at the end of the season who is where.

  • Dave

    Stoner is the best in the world, unbeatable….right now. The season is still so young.

    My money would still be on Stoner but he is by no means a lock.

    Face it, Stoner is physically a fragile specimen. Not his fault, but its a fact. He missed half a season with a mystery malady (lactose intolerance or iron deficiency or something?) and now this year he’s hobbled by arm-pump. He’s also already had the flu.

    This season will be more grueling than last season due to the bump in displacement. Stoner is not sturdy. That alone has this whole thing up in the air. Heck, its not out of the realm of possibility we see de ja vu with another mid-season sebatical due to another physical malady, this time arm pump.

    Lorenzo just has to stay within striking distance in the standings.

  • Adam

    I was really hoping to see a mix up this year with other riders challenging for podiums. but the gap between factory and satellite teams is only going to get bigger as the season progresses. the last two races showed how strong Stoner is at the moment being able to keep a gap from Lorenzo and not let him get to close. he must have learned from the first race and adjusted to not push so hard. I would think the arm pump is not as bad by racing in that way, leaving him more in the tank to push at the end. at Qatar Stoner gaped Dani and Lorenzo quite easily at the beginning of the race (much like in 2011). he hasn’t done this in the last 2 races but he has put him self out front and maintained his gap. I think Lorenzo is showing us what he is capable of but for him that may only be good for 2nd place. after 3 races the top 3 are very close so who knows it only takes one mistake and you will find your self in the gravel less 25 points. both Casey and Lorenzo found this out last year by mistakes in the rain and being taken out by other riders or losing a bit of finger in practice. I hope Dani will win more this year and be a real title challenger.

  • Westward

    @ Bryan

    2010, Rossi beat Lorenzo by over 62 seconds @ Qatar. I say to you, what pressure? Rossi had a training accident later that week on a motocross bike. With an injured shoulder, Rossi was still in the hunt and leading the time sheets @ Mugello. It was a simple accident, that could and does happen to anyone. The idea of pressure comes from the media, who after all, have to write something that sounds interesting to gain readers. (like the rumours of Stone’s retirement plans)

    @ Johnnie Deformed

    Even back from an injured leg, Rossi still maintained respectable rostrum finished. However, the shoulder injury was still there. The difference between Stoner’s performance issues and Rossi’s, are in that Stoner’s can be circumvented via mechanics in a garage, and Rossi’s by a doctor in a hospital with recovery time… The two circumstances are not the same.

    Make no mistake, in 2010, the misfortune of the other aliens, skewed Lorenzo dominance that season. He was always good for 3-4 race wins. Even Pedrosa increased from his usual 1 or 2 victories in the absence of Rossi and the struggles of Stoner. But when 3 of the four aliens are out of 4-5 races, two to injuries that require surgery, and one to a design flaw that causes the front to fold, who else is suppose to win, if not Lorenzo the golden child…

    2011, Lorenzo went right back to his usual 3 victories when battling another alien who is not Pedrosa. Stoner now with HRC seemed better than he was with Rossi on an unfamiliar bike.

    Also, least we forget, Pedrosa nearly beat Stoner @ Qatar, but again needed surgery to correct a pinched nerve in his collar. Not to mention that he was out of 4 races due to the infamous LeMans incident, after being victorious @ Estoril previously.

    Remember, Stoner was winning, with performances that were not better than he was on the Ducati, or the others on their respective bikes at many of the circuits from prior seasons. Though he did do better on a couple that he usually goes well on.

    So in short, Yeah, Rossi on a familiar Yamaha M1 and Healthy, is still a force to be reckoned with… Since the Japanese bikes are not that different, one could surmise that he would do well on any of them once Burgess and Crew get ahold of any of them.

    Obviously the Ducati is a different animal, which Stoner tamed better than anyone… But, the season has only just begun, and anything could happen, like updates for the Ducati could work out, or Spies turning it around…

  • Ken C.

    As much as I hate to say it, and I HATE to say it, Casey Stoner is dominating on the Honda. If you put Lorenzo on a Honda, I think he would be winning, but not dominating like Stoner. The bike is definitely a game changer, but Stoner also knows how to adapt to the bike and extract every ounce of performance out of it, unlike Rossi on the Ducati (much to my chagrin). Lorenzo hasn’t had to adapt much, but Yamaha hasn’t done much to give him a leg up. They’re closer this year, but unless Yamaha has tricks up their sleeve, I see Stoner winning it again.

  • Westward

    ** 2010, Rossi beat Lorenzo by over 60 seconds @ Qatar.

  • david

    unbelievable. every one else’s titles are only because this or that happened to rossi? lorenzo was beating rossi in the points before he had his crash in italy, would have beat him anyway. why do you think yamaha took rossi’s ultimatum and told him to stuff it? because they knew where their future lie, no one is the best forever,even the great rossi, and now lorenzo and stoner are both faster than him, fact. fanboys like westward can’t seem to accept that fact. I predicted last year before the start of the season that rossi would never win a race on that ducati, and i’m begining to think he never will. would he win a race back on a japanese bike? perhaps, but i’m willing to state the opinion that rossi will never win another title, and he will never again be as fast as stoner is now. would be wonderful theatre to be proven wrong of course :-)

  • Dave

    It’s a difficult dilema, the question of competition…and at what point does MotoGP become boring?

    MotoGP is 3 riders. Race-in-race-out, unless something unfortunate or strange happens get used to seeing Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo. (memo to Spies: who are you and what have you done with Ben Spies?). Satelite bikes/the nightmare that is Ducati have basically no hope. And I don’t know, call me crazy, but I always thought the reason one enters a race was with a hope to win the race–from that standpoint CRTs are stupid.

    The dilema–do you want NASCAR? which is for imbaciles I know, but set up so that each “race” there’s a different winner and nobody dominates at any point in any race …or do you want MotoGP.

    I fear the answer will eventually be, “nope, we want World Superbike or Moto2.”
    Well, this aint that, get used to seeing the same riders win, place, and show.

  • Halfie 30

    I am not a Rossi fan, but did everyone forget that he was pushed out of Yahmaha!? Not Jorge… Jorge pulled a Rossi on Rossi with mind games. Telling the press “he is not a god” and so forth. Can’t imagine he thinks any different of Stoner.

    And while we are at it. Rossi loved the challenge of riding the underpowered, out gunned Yahmaha of ’04 all the way to the championship. Injuries and machinery had more than shaken him, but I rhi k if you put him on competitive machinery you would see a more focused/dangerous Rossi. Would he beat Stoner or Jorge on a regular basis? Absolutely not… But we’ve seen people win championships with less victories than runner ups.

    All in all Stoner is really just biding his time until he retires in a couple/few years. His excuse book for beating Jorge by only a second and such is just banter to keep himself interested. In my eyes if you’re looking to retire as early as he is, then you’ve already lost a little. It of love for the sport…

  • Halfie 30

    And one more thing. All these guys like david and other forms of Rossi haters… When Rossi was dominatin they were Rossi fans… I’ve never been one… Stop jumping on bandwagons. Fans like you make the sport a joke. I’ll cheer for Edwards and Hayden until they retire. No matter what. Moto GP fans just lack loyalty. That’s why WSBK fans say their series is better. They cheer on their guys no matter what or until they leave the series.

  • JW

    @ Ben:

    I’m 55,

    been a GP fan since the 500cc era. So smilo got the name wrong, no big deal, his is a fan.

    crashnet is calling for you, please go to them, they need you, right now..

  • Free_Me


    You are on some serious drugs. There are so many flaws in your arguments but the one that I really want to squash is Rossi beating Lorenzo by 60 seconds in Qatar (2010).

    If you go and check the results on … you’ll see that in 2010, Rossi won the Qatar race by 1.022 seconds from Lorenzo.

    To me, the fact that you’re so out of touch on this one stat makes all of your other arguments null and void.

    Back to Grade 3 for you dumb dumb!

  • Damo

    Colin Edwards is my favorite rider and he hasn’t won shit since 2002. Think about how I feel, lol.

  • Westward


    Admittingly, it was indeed 1.022, however, he did win. Feel free to pick apart anything else, as I doubt you can…

    “Back to Grade 3 for you dumb dumb!” — Why, so I can meet you there? Don’t be juvenile, it’s not necessary…


    The crash at Mugello kept Rossi out of 4 races. But the injury in training after Qatar the first race of the season, affected the rest of the season, and the first four races of the next. Feel free to point out when Lorenzo dominated a healthy Rossi on equal machines… Cause it never happened, as you and “Free_Me” will discover…

    Lets also not forget, Rossi finished 3rd at Jerez and then 2nd at LeMans before Mugello…

    Also, I was not focusing on Rossi alone, as I did mention the misfortune that befell three of the four aliens that season.

  • @Damo: I loves me some Colin. His Silverstone 2011 was PRICELESS!

  • And maybe I should add “standup comedy” to that previous comment. I just love watching/hearing him speak. I expect to attend one of his bootcamps in the not too distant future.

  • Damo

    @Trane Francks

    I was lucky enough to score tickets and a pit pass to the Laguna Seca MotoGP race this year. I am hoping I’ll get to run into the Texas Tornado.

    I was really hoping he was going to jump back into WSBK rather than take the CRT seat. He was brilliant on that RVT1000.

  • F1

    @Westwood , going through life with blinders on creates tunnel vision, and why are the biggest blinders always yellow.

    I am a card fierce 46 fan,,, but Lorenzo WAS the fastest Yamaha rider that year, and would have topped him for the championship even without the broken leg,, and the shoulder that ended up being the only reason that he couldn’t win on the GP11 Ducati, (wink , nod) There is denial and excuses, and then there’s probable rational reality. You can’t take away the GOATS accomplishments, but you can accept that all the great ones peak, and then experience the slow decline,, with dignity.
    You don’t have to be a Lorenzo fan to recognize that he’s one of the fastest riders on 2 wheels TODAY.
    IMO The Yamaha is still one tick away from the Honda,, which is better than last year when it was 3 ticks.

    Motorcycle race fan first, Rossi fan second.

    Great stuff as usual Scott.

  • Dave

    I agree with F1 on every point.

    Conundrum: Rossi’s alleged decline, he can’t tame the Ducati (Stoner could) and, if the rumors are true, Stoner won’t suffer a decline because he’ll retire on top–all will conspire to sow seeds of doubt about who the real GOAT was (for some).

    PS I was at Laguna Seca watching in the shade of the trees at the corkscrew where Rossi made his impossible pass of Stoner. It was all the proof I’ll ever need. Valentino Rossi is the GOAT.

  • Westward


    I think the Yamaha is better than the Honda now, Stoner is simply faster than Lorenzo, even with chatter. Stoner was faster than Lorenzo in 2010, only the Ducati was not better than the Yamaha.

    Dovizioso, Crutchlow, and Bautista are not suddenly faster than Rossi. Their bikes are better. Bautista is on the factory spec meant for Simoncelli. Dovi and Crutchlow are on nearly factory M1’s.

    The only declining factor in Rossi’s abilities is the Ducati. Surely Rossi’s abilities will decline eventually, they just have not yet…

    Yamaha cannot beat HRC with Lorenzo, as long as Stoner is in the seat. However, they could if Rossi was in theirs..

  • Dave


    Rossi on this year’s M1 would set the table for epic battles vs Stoner and Lorenzo. Odds, albeit by slim margin, would still be with Stoner.

    Two things though–you really have to give Stoner and Lorenzo their due. This year looks to be the high water mark for both their careers. Also, realistically, Rossi is starting to meet with his decline. His talents may not be markedly declined but he’s not the same rider he once was.

    Changing of the guard. Happens all the time.–to quote Spies.

  • Just wanna remark on few general things, The website pattern is perfect, the content material is rattling fantastic : D.