STONER’S 2007 WORLD TITLE | Columns | Gassit Garage
A decade on, we look back at Casey Stoner’s maiden MotoGP World Championship – the hard work, the controversy and the ultimate celebration
Casey Stoner won the first of his 41 Australian titles when he was just six years old. Eight years later and too young to race on Aussie racetracks, his lashings of talent forced his family to pack up and chase his road-racing dream in Europe.
With self-belief and determination, it took the plucky Aussie just seven more years to loft the most coveted prize in two-wheeled motorcycle sport.
On 23 September 2007, two decades after Wayne Gardner had become Australia’s first premier-class world champion, Casey Stoner became the second-youngest person ever to wear the MotoGP crown.
The season before had been all about Valentino Rossi and the late Nicky Hayden, the latter snatching the title after the Italian choked in the finale.
Casey Stoner was a MotoGP rookie that year, yet had pulled out a stunning pole position in just his second premier-class GP and finished on the podium in just his third.
Another rookie that year was multiple 125 and 250 world champion Dani Pedrosa, who racked up a whopping eight podiums in his maiden MotoGP season, including two wins. Yet it was Stoner who went on to win two premier-class world titles before calling it quits in 2012, while the ultimate accolade still eludes the likeable Spaniard.
Despite Stoner’s early pole position and podium finish, nobody had the young Aussie pegged for a MotoGP world championship the following year. Not even us.
In AMCN’s 2007 MotoGP season preview, Stoner wasn’t one of the seven riders our guru tipped to potentially loft the 2007 MotoGP title trophy. No, the then 21-year-old was lumped in with fellow graduates Pedrosa, Randy de Puniet, Toni Elias and Chris Vermeulen. Pedrosa was the “most likely to upset the applecart”. Stoner’s verdict: “Maybe he’ll need one more year in the class.”
But that’s exactly what made Casey Stoner’s maiden world title so special, so memorable, and why the outspoken, sometimes prickly and fiercely talented youngster very quickly found a spot in Aussie racing fans’ hearts.
“We didn’t [pick it] for a heck of a long time either,” he later admitted. “We still thought this dream has got to start going downhill somewhere, and we just kept doing what we knew and it ended up working out in the end.”
And work out it did. Amid a swathe of new regulations, a controversial new tyre rule, all-new 800cc machines and, for the first time, a bevy of interfering electronics, a fascinating technical sub-plot began to unravel and a fresh-faced 21-year-old ran away with the title.
This is how it unfolded…
Read the full story in the current issue of AMCN (Year book Vol 67 No 12) on sale now