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23 days ago

Casey Stoner: high goals, perfectionism, and reality checks

The two-time World Champion and MotoGP™ Legend sits down for the final Last On The Brakes treat of 2021

The MotoGP™ paddock was treated to a special present for the final two races of the season in Portimao and Valencia. Casey Stoner, two-time World Champion and MotoGP™ Legend, was back and while around, the Last On The Brakes podcast managed to catch up with the much-adored Australian for the curtain-closing Podcast of 2021.

It was absolutely fascinating to hear from Stoner – who retired from MotoGP™ at the end of 2012 – at the Algarve and Valencia GPs. And his chat with Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld is no different. In one section, Stoner delves into what it was like to go from racing in the British Championship straight into the 250cc class – sidestepping 125cc completely. Even for a rider that oozed as much natural talent as he did, that jump saw Stoner readjust his goals.

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“I'm always one for setting your goals high. I understand people that just like to set one goal at a time. Let's say before I got to GPs at all, I was quite sure I could be a world champion. Not overly confident or cocky about it. But you know, that's where I was heading my whole life. That was my goal. I was going there to make it into the big class and see if I can win a World Championship,” comments Stoner.

“Now, my first year in GPs, that nearly ended up for me. My engineer that year was difficult to work with. He saw me as just a young kid that didn't know anything and didn't make it easy on me. And I had a really, really tough year straight into the 250 class as well. Now, at that time, I had only road raced ever for two years. I did Superteens, then I did British Championship and then I was in World Championship 250s - already in the second category, one step below MotoGP, it was the wrong way to go. But we had no options.

“But that year really saw me have a big reality check and go like, I don't think this can happen. You know, I've never been that optimistic guy. I'm not pessimistic. But I'm not the optimist side. I'm a realist. And I got there and went, you know, this is going to be really hard. I don't know if I can ever win a race let alone a championship.

“So the next year, I had a fantastic engineer, Massimo Branchini. And he was he was fantastic. He really helped me through the whole process, taught me how to read data, him and Lucio really helped massively. And I learned a lot that year, and then I didn't necessarily get back on track to that, ‘I think I can, you know, win a world championship’. But all of a sudden, it's like, ‘alright, I'm not completely useless, I can do something here.’

“I understand maybe setting goals that are sometimes too high, but you may as well set them high and have something to move towards, rather than set all these little goals that you achieve, and then move forward and achieve. But at the same time, you need to be realistic. If you need to adjust your goals, adjust them. But, I had big goals set before I arrived to Grands Prix. I had to readjust them a little bit, but then I still ended up achieving them.”

Head over to your favoured Podcast streaming platform to listen to the in-depth chat with Stoner. Hopefully we see the Aussie ace in and around the paddock much more in 2022 and beyond!

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