Casey Stoner’s BT Sport blog: No regrets about leaving MotoGP
In the first of a series of occasional blogs for BT Sport, two-time World Champion Casey says he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t regret leaving the sport and talks about the future…
As many of you know, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a huge fan of interviews and writing publicly but when BT Sport approached me and asked me about doing a few blogs I thought it would be a good way to speak to the fans and share my past year Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for those who want to listen!
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always had a strange relationship with the British fans Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it seems very black and white. Some support me wholeheartedly and some see me as a whingeing Aussie! ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strange when I think about it because some of my best friends are “Poms!”
After retiring from MotoGP Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which I know many people still canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I really needed some time off. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t regret my decision, not even for a second.
Of course I miss some of the people and my friends from the paddock Ã¢â‚¬â€œ after so many years they become your family, but I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enjoying my racing. Even though we had a great bike and team, there was something missing. I took the decision with my family to retire and I was pretty vocal about my interest in racing in the V8 Supercar Championship.
If IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m honest, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect things to progress so quickly. I imagined a few tests in 2013 and then see how I was getting on towards the end of the year. However, before I knew it things had accelerated and there was an option for me to take part in the Dunlop Series Ã¢â‚¬â€œ feeder to the V8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s.
I decided “what the heck” and went for it. With hindsight it was too much too soon Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I should have taken the whole of 2013 off to re-evaluate things and take my time. I enjoyed some of the racing but many factors existed that were the contributing reasons to my leaving MotoGP. The PR commitments were intense and many more than I had planned for my year off!
Just to be clear, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enjoy or appreciate my fans Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I really do Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but what many people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t appreciate is that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m an incredibly private person. My circle of friends and the people I trust is very limited, and I treasure them, but when I have to give interview after interview, especially with people who write negatively about me, it eats away at my soul.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hard thing to explain and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect everyone to understand, but please know I appreciate all the true fans and this is something I was really exposed to when releasing my book.
I did many book signings and I was genuinely moved by the people who came along and had positive things to say. This is also the same for the comments and messages I continue to receive on my Facebook page and Twitter.
I realised that unlike MotoGP Ã¢â‚¬â€œ where the fans are there for all the riders and come to signing sessions but may not necessarily like you Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the fans coming for the book signing were my fans, people who were interested in my story and what I had to say, and as I said, it really touched me. So thank you to all of you who bought a book and for all the comments.
So after we finished with the V8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s there was an option for 2014, but together with my wife Adriana, we decided that we should take some time to take a step back and see where we were. We had just moved back to Australia and were enjoying time with our daughter Ally.
Being a father has changed me and I know many people say it, but it is an incredible journey. We had a nice Christmas and New Year and spent some time away with friends and for the first time ever, we werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t jumping on a plane every week. It was bliss!
The beginning of this year has continued to be pretty relaxed, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve found some new hobbies as well as continuing my fishing. In April I flew to America to spend some time with my fishing buddy Carl who is competing to get into the Ã¢â‚¬ËœElitesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in the U.SÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ after a week with him I travelled down to Houston and went to my first Supercross Event. I loved it! I know quite a few people in that paddock but I met up with Ryan Villopoto and we hit it off immediately.
We had many things in common – our paths in our lives and also our racing careers – and I ended up travelling with him to the final races of the season and was with him in New Jersey when he clinched his fourth title. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m really pleased to have been there and been able to share that time with him.
In between those races I got a chance to visit MotoGP in Austin, but arrived at the end of the race! To be honest I mainly wanted to see some of my friends and my old team and of course Honda vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto and team boss Livio Suppo. It was nice to catch up with them all and also the riders Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo etc. Ben Spies was also there.
In fact, afterwards I went back to Dallas with my friend Rhys Edwards from Honda and we stayed with Ben for a few days, I was pretty impressed with Texas! As I was having such a good time, Easter was approaching and with Ryan inviting me to come to the final races, I decided to surprise Adriana and fly her and Ally out to meet with me, instead of going home.
We spent Easter in California with Rhys and his fiancÃƒÂ©e Katelyn and then continued our adventure to the final Supercross races before returning home at the beginning of May. It was a great trip, I really love America and I hope to get back there soon.
In terms of MotoGP, I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really watched that much to be totally honest. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen bits here and there and Marc Marquez is obviously doing a very good job at Honda. Lots of people have asked if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to be doing any testing, but I decided not to do anything this year, to have a complete break.
I told Nakamoto san and Livio that I would like to do a test for them Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if they need me to Ã¢â‚¬â€œ out of goodwill, as last year many of my contracted test days were a wash out with bad weather, so I felt guilty for being paid not to ride. So weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see if that comes off.
If not, I plan to have a relaxing winter here in Australia. I spend a bit of time with some of the V8 boys when theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not at races and in general IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just enjoying being at home with Ally and Adri. We have a few trips planned for the end of the year and pretty soon weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to start thinking about the future and what we want to do. But for now, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m happy to relax and not live out of a suitcase for the first time since I can remember.
Thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it.