Casey Stoner said he retired from MotoGP after last season at age 27 because he was tired of paddock politics. Stoner also treated many media interviews as something on the same comfort level as a nasty, bloody root canal.
Funny, then, how he can't shut up about Grand Prix motorcycle racing politics to seemingly almost any microphone that approaches him these days.
Stoner continued to keep his brain-to-mouth spigot open wide with opinions about Ducati, for which he won his first World Championship in 2007, during a visit last weekend to the Australian Grand Prix Formula One race.
First, Stoner ripped seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi for failing to adapt his riding style to the unique setup of the Desmosedici GP11 and GP12 during his ill-fated tenure at Ducati in 2011 and 2012.
But Stoner proved in the same weekend that he's an equal-opportunity critic, criticizing Ducati and praising deposed Ducati engineering guru Filippo Preziosi in almost the same breath during an interview with Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Ducati have made a series of errors," Stoner said. "With the budget that was used in the two years with Rossi, they could have won more and, more importantly, could keep winning. They thought only, 'We achieved these results with Stoner, then we will improve with Valentino.'"
Stoner won 23 races from 2007-11 with Ducati despite switching from a trellis frame to a carbon-fiber chassis in 2009. Rossi was winless in 2011 and 2012 despite Ducati acquiescing to his request to scrap the carbon-fiber bike for a more traditional, Japanese-style alloy frame in 2012.
That failure was among the factors that led Ducati to demote its MotoGP godfather Preziosi immediately after the 2012 season. Preziosi quit the company last month due to health reasons.
"(To continue) without Preziosi was a bad choice," Stoner said. "He's a fantastic engineer and created the project from scratch, a winning project with untapped potential. When I went to Honda (in 2011), I brought with me the whole team because I knew he (Preziosi) would win again. And if I could, I would have brought him, also."