Casey Stoner – Biography

 

youngCasey was born on October 16th 1985 in Southport, Australia, and competed in his first race was when he was just four years old, in an under-nines race. Whilst racing in Australia at a young age, he famously over one weekend raced in 5 different categories in all 7 rounds of each capacity; a weekend consisting of 35 different races. Not only did he compete in all these categories and different engine capacities, but the young Casey won 32 out of the 35 races. There were five Australian titles to be won that weekend, he won all five.

Just after his 14th birthday, Casey and his parents relocated to England to follow his dream of riding in the premier category. Casey could not legally road race in Australia until he was 16, but he and his family had decided he was ready for the challenge, so the decision was made to move to England where Casey was already of legal age to race. A big risk to take, but it paid off.

He attracted immediate sponsorship after just one race in England and went on to win the English 125cc Aprilia Championship in 2000, his first year of road racing. Also in that year he raced in two rounds of the Spanish 125cc Championship, where he caught the eye of former racer Alberto Puig. Alberto was impressed by Casey’s determination and skill and invited him to race for the Telefonica Movistar Team in the 125cc Spanish Championship the following year.

In 2001 Casey raced in both the English and Spanish Championships during the same year. Despite missing some English races due to clashes with Spanish rounds, he still managed to come second in both Championships. In that same year he was also granted wildcard entries into the 125cc GP World Championship, in both England and Australia for his first visit to Phillip Island. He placed 18th and 12th respectively and as a result was offered a ride the following year for the Safilo Oxydo LCR team in the 250cc GP World Championship.

Climbing straight onto a 250cc machine in his rookie year, and at only 16 years of age, Casey demonstrated his ability and speed with results. His best result for the year was 5th at Brno as well as several 6th place finishes. In 2003 he continued to ride for Lucio and Safilo Oxydo LCR, but in the 125cc GP World Championship, and took four podium finishes and his first race win, in Valencia, at the end of the season placing him 8th overall in the final standings. His first win in a GP race was a huge turning point for Casey and his career.

ktmIn 2004, at 18 years of age, Casey moved to KTM for a season where he helped to develop the team’s 125cc bike into a winning machine. That year he made it to the podium six times and took KTM’s first ever win in a GP class, finishing the season in 5th. 2005 saw Casey once again come back under the umbrella of Lucio Cecchinello’s team, this time riding an official 250cc Aprilia. He spent 2005 battling it out with Dani Pedrosa for the Championship, visiting the podium ten times in the process and taking wins in Portugal, Shanghai, Qatar, Sepang, and Istanbul, finishing 2nd in the Championship behind Dani.

Finally in 2006, at twenty years of age, Casey accomplished his long held ambition of racing in MotoGP, the fastest and most prestigious of the classes. He took pole position in his second ever MotoGP race in Qatar and battled for the win until the final corner in the GP of Turkey, finishing runner-up just a fraction behind winner Melandri. Casey finished eighth overall in his rookie MotoGP season, and demonstrated that he was able to challenge amongst the elite group.

2007 was a golden year for Casey after joining the Factory Ducati Marlboro Team alongside Loris Capirossi, with whom he had struck up a good friendship. He married Adriana on January 6th and on his debut on the new bike at the first race of the year in Qatar he took victory. Then on September 23rd, in Japan, after a dominant season winning 10 races, Stoner secured his first MotoGP World Championship.

ducatiCasey’s fight to retain his title in 2008 was a hard fought battle. A season of ups and downs, Casey took seven pole positions in a row, converting three of them into race wins in Donington, Assen and Sachsenring putting him just 20 points from the Championship lead. However, successive crashes whilst fighting for the victory at Laguna Seca, Brno and Misano effectively put the Championship out of his reach and he finished runner-up to Valentino Rossi with 280 points – the highest points tally ever recorded without gaining the title, at the time.

The 2009 season began well for Casey however, after suffering from severe fatigue in a few consecutive races, Casey took the decision to miss rounds 11, 12 and 13 whilst he concentrated on his health. After the diagnosis was confirmed as lactose intolerance, Casey came back strong and finished the season on a high, finishing second in Portugal, winning his home Grand Prix in Phillip Island and also winning in Sepang. He dominated the final weekend of the year in Valencia, securing pole for Sunday’s race, but crashed on cold tyres during the warmup lap, forcing him to miss the race. Even thought he missed three races, Casey still managed 4th in the rider’s Championship at the end of the season.

Casey had a slow start to 2010 and it wasn’t until round 13, at the inaugural Aragon GP, that he secured his first win of the season. This victory pre-empted a run of three victories in four races – winning in Japan and his home GP in Australia – finally finishing 4th in the Championship again.

hondaFor 2011, Casey moved to the factory Honda outfit – the Repsol Honda Team. He adapted immediately to the Japanese bike and won three out of the first five rounds of the season, with victories in Qatar, Le Mans and Catalunya. He added victories at Silverstone in damp conditions, and Laguna Seca, to hold a 20-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo with eight races to go in the season. On his 26th birthday, Casey won his ninth race of the season from his eleventh pole, and with his only challenger Jorge Lorenzo unfortunately ruled out of the race due to a hand injury suffered in warmup, Casey finished the weekend with an unassailable 65-point lead. His victory in the Australian MotoGP was his fifth in succession in his home race dating back to 2007 making him the only rider to have won at Phillip Island during the 800cc era of MotoGP.

He secured his second career World title and became the first rider to win the title twice in his first year on a new machine (in 2007 in his first year on a Ducati and in 2011 in his first season on an 800cc Honda). Casey finished on the podium in every race except one (Jerez), where he was taken out in a racing incident involving Rossi.

Ready to fight to retain his title in 2012, Casey became a father in February to daughter Alessandra and began the year in top form, with wins at Jerez, and Estoril, both tracks he had not won a MotoGP race at before; his victory in Estoril allowed him to take the Championship lead. His fourth place at the Catalunya GP was his first finish off the podium in fourteen months. Then during the Pre-Event Press Conference for the French GP in May, Casey shocked the motorcycling World by announcing his retirement from the sport at the end of the season. Citing personal reasons and dislike for the way the Championship was headed as his reasons for his decision.

A few difficult races led Casey to the USA for the two American rounds. An emphatic win in Laguna Seca was followed by heartache in Indianapolis after he suffered a heavy crash during qualifying, tearing ligaments in his ankle. Nevertheless, Casey showed grit and determination racing on Sunday with a custom made Alpinestars boot for his heavily strapped ankle. On return to Europe, he was advised to have surgery immediately and flew to Australia for the operation, forcing him out of the next three races and thus ending his Championship hopes. He returned to action in the Japanese GP finishing fifth and then took a podium finish in Malaysia, finishing 3rd. Knowing the Championship was out of reach, and realising this was his last performance at ‘home’, Casey put on an incredible show in front of a sell out crowd at Phillip Island. He dominated all the practice sessions by a second and then took pole position half a second faster than second place Lorenzo. He also led warmup and then won the race by nine seconds ahead of Lorenzo. He took 3rd place in Valencia and finished the season third in the standings behind Lorenzo and Pedrosa, signalling an end to his MotoGP career.

Throughout his GP World Championship career, Casey achieved a total of 45 victories (2 x 125cc, 5 x 250cc, 38 x MotoGP), 17 second positions (5 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 11 x MotoGP), 27 third positions (3 x 125cc, 4 x 250cc, 20 x MotoGP), 89 podiums (10 x 125cc, 10 x 250cc, 69 x MotoGP), 43 poles (2 x 125cc, 2 x 250cc, 39 x MotoGP) and 33 fastest race laps (3 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 29 x MotoGP).

Since retiring from MotoGP in 2012, Casey spent 2013 racing in the V8 Supercars Development series and also served as testing rider for HRC until November 2015. He is without a doubt the King of Phillip Island and out of respect, the circuit owners named turn three after him and created a bronze bust in his honour. On his retirement from the sport, he was also named a MotoGP Legend, joining a list of greats including fellow countrymen Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, Giacomo Agostini, Mike Hailwood and Freddie Spencer.

In December 2015, Casey announced that he was returning to Ducati in the role of brand ambassador and test rider.