until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


‘Something others don’t have’ – Why Stoner rates Bezzecchi

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner’s recent criticism of the series’ modern state implied that the class of 2023 wasn’t getting much chance to showcase what they’re really capable of.

The corollary of that opinion is that if the 2023 MotoGP machines were more raw and untamed as Stoner wishes, some of the present riders would fare much better than others.

And he singled out VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi as someone who would particularly thrive under his preferred vision for MotoGP.

Stoner spoke of his disillusionment with the current state of the premier-class ruleset during an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The potency of the electronics used in the series, in their role as a performance booster and differentiator, is a major bugbear for the Australian.

In addition to other tweaks he’d suggested, Stoner’s ideal MotoGP would entail a move more towards to the untamed power of 500cc – an era of “real bikes” that “still to this day I’ve never stopped thinking about” missing out on, with the massively increased sophistication of modern control electronics used only as a laptime-compromising safety mechanism.

Following his retirement in 2012, Stoner worked as a Honda and Ducati test rider and more recently was a source of welcome advice for Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia during the Italian’s improbable championship comeback last year.

Asked about Bagnaia’s status as the current reference point in MotoGP, Stoner acknowledged “you would have to imagine” he is one who could handle less refined bikes – but also gave an unprompted shoutout to Bagnaia’s fellow Valentino Rossi protege Bezzecchi.

“Current world champion, currently leading the championship,” said Stoner of Bagnaia. “Doing a fantastic job.

“We saw already – not only last year but the year before – he was very competitive, just needed to I suppose calm a couple of things down, and he’s learned a lot the last two years, and I suppose where his weaknesses are. He’s doing a great job.

“Same with Bezzecchi, he’s doing a fantastic job.”


MotoGP’s top rookie last year – having towered head and shoulders above the competition – Bezzecchi has followed up on that promise this year so far, with wins in the Argentine Grand Prix, the French Grand Prix and the Dutch TT sprint.

Stoner said he’s rated Bezzecchi “for a long time”.

“As soon as I saw him on [a] Moto2. For me, he had something the others don’t.”

Bezzecchi had actually had a fairly inauspicious first season in Moto2, albeit was held back by KTM’s difficulties with its on-its-way-out Moto2 machine that did eventually come good again – but by and large in the hands of Brad Binder much more than anyone else.


But a switch to a Kalex in 2020, under the wing of the VR46 team, re-unleashed the rider who had fought for the Moto3 title, Bezzecchi very nearly winning the Moto2 title contest against the more experienced likes of Luca Marini and Sam Lowes and fellow sophomore Enea Bastianini, who was the eventual champion.

That season was case enough for a Bezzecchi MotoGP promotion already. Though he was one place higher in the Moto2 championship in 2021, in performance terms it was actually less impressive as he was a distant best of the rest behind dominant Ajo riders Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez. But Bezzecchi then considerably outperformed both of those riders as they all came into the premier class together.

“If you took away traction control, he would be one of the few running at the front,” theorised Stoner of Bezzecchi.

“He has a style, he’s able to utilise the grip in a way that’s not just [blindly] trusting it, twisting it, like some of the riders are doing at the moment.

“The guys at the front would probably still be at the front, but Marco would in my opinion maybe even have a little more of an advantage if you took away traction control tomorrow and said ‘you have to try and find as much grip as you can’.

“It’d be an advantage.”

Bezzecchi goes into the second part of the 2023 MotoGP season still technically in title contention, sitting third in the standings – 36 points behind Bagnaia – as the championship resumes with this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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