After Casey Stoner chastised the press, and called out Kevin Schwantz for his opinion on Stoner’s illness,  Wayne Gardner, the 1987 500GP Champion, has weighed in his thoughts on Stoner’s absence from MotoGP racing. Saying what everyone already felt, Gardner calls Stoner’s absence “very suspicious” but still considers the Australian rider the favorite at the Australian GP this weekend.

Speaking the Australian newspaper, The Age, Gardner said:

“It’s very suspicious. I wish there had have been some sort of answer to it, that he’d come out with some sort of answer, because there is certainly an air of mystery to it. I personally haven’t ever seen anyone just stop for a rest during the year in my time of grand prix racing. It’s certainly an unanswered question. I don’t think it puts a question mark on him as a competitor but it would just be nice to know what was the reasoning for it … I think he probably needs to come up with some answers.”

Stoner’s return to MotoGP was marked with a press conference where he chastised the press for the speculation surrounding his reprieve from GP racing. Stoner also lashed out at American Kevin Schwantz for his comments and point-of-view on Stoner’s illness and absence.

“You know something that really upset me a lot and I’ve lost a lot of respect for him is Kevin Schwantz. After what he said, I had a lot of respect for that guy, he’s been one of my favorite riders and probably one of the most exciting riders to watch throughout my career. When somebody like that says something like that, it shows you that experience counts for nothing, which is what I’ve been trying to tell people for a long time now. They’re always looking to the older riders to give their points of view, but unfortunately, their points of view are very hard and there’s no changing them.

I saw the Kevin Schwantz thing and things like that, and it really made me laugh. It pissed me off at the same time, because I had a lot of respect for those riders, Jeremy McWilliams as well, I mean, what the hell do they know? Really, what do they know? Everyone’s sitting their with an opinion when they know nothing, and they don’t know the situation.”

Gardner would seem to be another person on the sideline who is drawing their own conclusions from the circumstances, and for his part the former 500GP Champion seems to realize that fact. But like many others, there is something about Stoner’s situation that isn’t sitting right with Gardner.

“I don’t tell him how to ride his bike and that’s the way he does things. But it’s certainly very unusual and very unique that someone stops and has a rest for three or four races in the middle of the year and then comes back out and races and says, ‘I’m better now.’ It shows you what a talent he is and hopefully he can keep that up for the rest of the year.”

We may never know the whole story about Stoner’s absence and mystery illness, but it is refreshing at least to see the #21 Ducati back up at the front mixing it up with Rossi, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa. Look for more close racing from the Fantastic 4 this weekend at Phillip Island.

Source: Two Wheels Blog; Photo: Wikipedia

  • Jake

    This is nothing more then another no story that the press needs to sell copies or generate hits. The “issue” with Stoner was between him and his team. It’s apparent that Ducati didn’t have to much of a problem with Stoner because obviously he’s back on the bike and with the team. Just because Stoner hasn’t decided to provide exact details to the public about his illness doesn’t make it a mystery. He had health issues and did what he thought was best to get over them. End of story.

    But people need something to talk about even if the facts don’t bare out the conversation. And that fact is that Stoner even when not completely fit is one of the best riders on the planet. But because many don’t like his personality because he doesn’t act like Rossi or Lorenzo too many are just looking for excuses to tear him down.

    He wins races and a title and people constantly say it’s the bike or tires despite the fact that no one else on the same bike and tires are anywhere near him. He can’t do this or that, despite the fact that he is up front running with Rossi and Lorenzo.

  • Don Zielke

    I’m sick of the whole debate. He was obviously ill, at doctor’s request took time off (presumably for treatment & recovery), and now he’s back, end of story. Who cares what it was? Is it going to make a difference if we know or not?

    This is starting to border on invasion of privacy, at least in my opinion. If Stoner had wanted to share more, he would have.

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  • Stoner just can’t give the proper reason, and that sounds fishy to you and me, not mentioning Schwantz (which rode injured through the WHOLE career) and the typical Hard-knock Gardner. Remember the times when Doohan even couldn’t get on his NSR without help of his mechanics. If you got your head, legs and arms in place-you ride! Lorenzo had his share last year with some pretty rough injuries (broken heels amongst others…), but he didn’t took the vacation in Spain…Sorry Casey, but that’s just lame!

  • No one is questioning Stoner’s talent. There is just no way Doohan, Rainey,Gardner or Schwantz would miss three rounds because they were tired or fatigued. Does he have the talent of these guys maybe ,the HEART now thats questionable.