Casey Stoner remains in the history of motorcycle racing as the rider who succeeded to snatch the champion title two times, once in 2007, and the second time in 2011. Riding on bikes with the best motorcycle tires around, the famous Australian racer was known to give his best during any race and also make the best of the equipment he had at his disposal.
Early years – a champion in the making
Like other talented racers who have become World Champion, Casey Stoner proved an advanced rider from an early age. When he was only 4 years old, he took part in his first competition of the kind, which was a race for riders under 9 years old, and took place on Mike Hatcher’s dirt racing track, located on the Gold Coast. Australia has many tracks for such competitions, so there’s no wonder Stoner started this way.
It took him, however, 2 more years to land his first victory, but, from that point forward, it was all smooth sailing. Until he reached the age of 14 years old, he had 41 dirt biking titles under his belt, as well as 70 state titles, which says a lot about his prowess and dedication to the sport.
During these years, he also proved an excellent versatile rider. He was 12 years old when he competed in an event that stretched over one weekend in 5 categories. He also covered all the 7 rounds for each of them. In total, he took part in 35 races and won 32 of them. Also, all the 5 titles available went straight to the incredible resume of this young rider.
The switch to road racing
Once he turned 14, he moved to road racing, so together with his family, he moved to England, where it is legal for 14-year-old racers to take part in such competitions. Between 2000 and 2002, he participated in various 125cc GP championships in both the UK and Spain. However, this would be a rocky period for him, and he didn’t score any wins.
It would all change the following year, as in 2003, he would manage to score the 8th place in the 125cc World Championship. Stoner continued to improve, and the next years, he had already climbed to 5th place on the leaderboard. His star shone only brighter in 2005 when he participated in the 250cc World Championship and came in second, after Dani Pedrosa.
He could have nailed the first place if not for a crash he suffered during the Grand Prix race held on Phillip Island. That way, Pedrosa secured an advance that Stoner couldn’t overcome during the next races. Nonetheless, he finished the season with 5 victories under his belt, which was no easy feat, seeing how fierce the competition was that year.
The first MotoGP title
Stoner started his career in MotoGP in 2006, when he competed as part of the LCR Honda team. During his rookie season, he occupied the position of a satellite rider; however, he managed to take the pole position during the second race of his rookie year. He was unlucky, though, and he crashed a few times, which put a considerable distance between him and the podium.
While he secured second place when racing in the Turkish Grand Prix, his overall performance put him only in the 8th place at the end of the season. Fortunately, more interesting times were on the horizon. In 2007, Stoner became part of the Ducati Team. From the start, 2007 proved to be a good year for Stoner, who snatched the victory at the Qatar Grand Prix, at the opening of the season.
With 6 pole positions and 10 victories, he finally managed to overcome Dani Pedrosa; the point advantage was 125, which meant that Pedrosa would have had to score 5 wins only to be shoulder to shoulder with him. There had been some not so great times during the season, such as coming in 6th at Montegi.
There was more than just his personal victory that mattered during that year, as his title also brought recognition to his team. It was the first GP title to be registered by an Italian manufacturer since 1974. Also, Stoner was recognized at home for his outstanding performance and received the title of Young Australian of the Year.
A period of ups and downs – 2008-2010
Stoner would go and score his second MotoGP title in 2011, but until then, his career proved tumultuous. The beginning of the 2008 season appeared to be under excellent auspices, with Stoner winning in Qatar. He managed to snatch 7 successive pole positions and materialized 3 into victories, too. Nonetheless, he got through more than a rough patch as he crashed several times.
Even with all these troubles, he scored 6 victories and earned 2nd place after Valentino Rossi at the end of the season. It must also be noted that he got 280 points, a record for a racer who didn’t get the title.
Unfortunately, starting with 2009, his health began to deteriorate. He started feeling tired for no apparent reason, and he began to lag behind Rossi and Lorenzo during the 2009 season. Eventually, his health got so bad that he needed to be replaced by another racer from the team. Stoner did return and managed to finish victorious at the Australian Grand Prix. At the end of the season, he was in 4th place.
He would continue to race for Ducati in 2010, but it would be his last professional season with this team. Although he qualified for the pole position at the season-opening in Qatar, he was out of luck and repeatedly crashed during the next races. His first victory of the season would be at the 13th race, the Aragon Grand Prix. After that, it appeared that his lucky star was back at work, as he won two other races.
His final place was 4th, so he didn’t get on the podium. A lot of turbulence took place in regards to the teams participating in the event, so in 2011, he ended leaving Ducati for Honda.
His second MotoGP title
2011 was an excellent season for Stoner, but it would be the one to crown his career, as one year later, he retired for good from the sport. With pole positions in Qatar and Spain, Stoner proved that he was back in shape, and he won the famous Le Mans, Silverstone, and others, managing to secure a 20-point advance on Jorge Lorenzo. At that point, there were 8 races left.
Phillip Island was another great victory, and the win came on his 26th birthday, another reason to celebrate. He also broke some worldwide records by being the only racer to win this round for the 800cc category and being in the same league with Marc Marquez and Lorenzo as a premier class rider to win this championship title in the 2010s.
One last season
It appeared that things were going well for Stoner, who now had a second MotoGP title under his belt. His 2012 started pretty well, as he won at Jerez and Estoril, races that he had not managed to win before. His evolution continued to be above average, and his score to improve by accumulating points, but at the Italian Grand Prix, he only finished in the 8th place.
The Indianapolis Grand Prix qualification was when he crashed severely and suffered severe injuries in his ankle. Even so, he managed to take part in the race the next day and came in 4th. After that, he decided to have surgery performed on his injured ankle. He returned for the Japanese Grand Prix, where he finished in 5th place. At Phillip Island, he won again, for the sixth consecutive season.
Although it appeared that Stoner still had a lot to prove as a world-class motorcycle racer, in 2012, he announced that he wished to retire, invoking not only his health issues but also the stressful conditions generated by the political tensions inside the MotoGP world.
Stoner continued to remain close to the world of racing, but from afar, as he tried to make a name for himself in the world of V8 Supercars, but only with moderate results. He also became a test rider for Honda, but, while he had an attempt to participate in the Suzuka 8 Hours event, he crashed severely and injured his ankle and shoulder.