Rossi Claims Stoner "Obstructed" Him At Estoril Test

There was clearly something very nasty in the water at Estoril. For almost as soon as the riders rolled into the paddock in Portugal, the atmosphere soured badly, with verbal sparring matches breaking out between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, and Jorge Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli. Rossi and Stoner clashed over the crash at Jerez, when the Italian accidentally took out the Honda man in a crash at turn 1. Lorenzo and Simoncelli, in turn, clashed over Lorenzo's accusations that Simoncelli was a dangerous rider, a claim refuted by the Gresini Honda rider.

It now appears that at least one of the feuds is continuing to simmer on. According to reports from the Italian broadcaster Sportmediaset - and confirmed by the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport - Valentino Rossi has claimed that Casey Stoner attempted to block the Italian while the pair of them were riding during the official MotoGP test on the Monday after the Estoril round.

The first reports on Mediaset - reporting rumors passed on by "a little bird" from the MotoGP paddock present at the Monza World Superbike round - suggested that Stoner had run Rossi off the track once during the Estoril test, having first circulated slowly, waiting for the Italian, then blocked Rossi again a second time later on. When asked by journalists at the opening of a store in Milan for Enel, the Italian energy company that sponsors the Ducati factory team, Rossi claimed that Stoner had indeed obstructed him a little, riding on his line as the Italian approached. "To me, it looked like he did it on purpose," Rossi told the press, before then passing the incident off as "not a big problem". In the end, Rossi told reporters, these little quarrels between the riders were "just a bit of fun."

So far, of course, we have only heard one side of the story, from the unnamed MotoGP source at Monza, then partially confirmed by Rossi in Milan. Identifying the source at Monza would be difficult, given the number of Italian MotoGP riders and team members attending the Monza World Superbike round. And Rossi's version of the story is much milder than the original claims, Rossi only claiming that Stoner rode on his line and got in his way, rather than waiting for him and running him off the track. No doubt that on Thursday, when the riders speak to the press for the first time at Le Mans, we shall get to hear Stoner's version of events, one which is likely to be different to the original rumor being passed around at Monza. Unfortunately, the pair will not be in the official press conference together at Le Mans, and so another public confrontation like the one between Lorenzo and Simoncelli will not happen, at least not on Thursday.

Of course, this is sometimes the problem with judging the truth of reports in some sections of the Italian press. Though both sources of this story are impeccable - the Gazzetta dello Sport is Italy's biggest daily sports newspaper, while Sportsmediaset is the sports arm of Mediaset, Italy's largest commercial broadcaster - some sections of the Italian media are known to be susceptible to making more of a story than the pure facts alone suggest. And speaking from personal experience, rumors in the paddock are about as reliable as rumors in any small community, sometimes being absolutely accurate, whilst at other times being completely baseless and fabricated, with every other shade of truth or fiction in between.

What is certain is that Rossi believes that Stoner in some way balked him during the test on Monday. He also believes that this was a deliberate action on the part of the Australian. Whether this is what actually happened remains to be seen. No doubt that Casey Stoner's media debrief on Thursday will be packed with Italian journalists, and no doubt that the Australian will face a grilling on the subject. Nor is there any doubt that this topic will fill countless column inches in the Italian papers on Friday. But by then, the fans will have some actual on-track action to concentrate on instead.

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Comments

It is all a lot of blah, blah, blah. I hope Stoner stops responding to Rossi's media storm, because the only thing that is keeping all eyes off being focused totally on Rossi/Ducati's average results is Stoner responding.

Caseys comments are always laced with dark wit and always raise a smile from me.

Plus, Vale is now in the same shoes once reserved for Max and Sete. Getting soundly out-paced by his rivals. It'll be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure and if we'll see another mini-meltdown as we saw after Friday practice in Estoril.

Of course, I'd much rather see interesting on-track action but thats quite rare so the verbal-dihorria-slinging contest will have to do instead.

Maybe there should be a panel of judges who award championship points to the rider who keeps their cool the longest and also has the wittiest comments during the press conferences?!

But Australian does seem to be lost in translation. The wit awards sound like a great idea, but I think Stoner would have to be provided a special "Australian" to International English translator to keep the playing field fair.

Another storm brewing in a tea cup. Well the tension adds to the spice of GP 2011.
Two distinct factions seem to have emerged in the war of words. In the left corner we have Rossi/Simmo.In the right corner we have George/Casey.
Right corner in the ascendency at the moment in terms of what really counts.
Race results.
As for Stoner deliberately blocking Rossi, what a joke.
Afterall,Rossi had an entire day of testing to find a piece of track Stoner was not sitting up on. This quip only lends credence to Stoner broadly hinting at Rossi following him like a puppy. Its not like it was a qualifying lap or mid race incident.
I would have expected Rossi to be singing the praises of his new bike and its Le Mans potential rather than focusing on what lines Stoner was using or hogging in a post race test.
He needs a podium desperately this weekend.

I'll thank you not to group Lorenzo and Stoner in the same group! (Since I am a Stoner fan, you know!)

"I would have expected Rossi to be singing the praises of his new bike and its Le Mans potential rather than focusing on what lines Stoner was using or hogging in a post race test.
He needs a podium desperately this weekend."

You realize the rumor started in the WSBK paddock and then he got asked about it. And that Rossi actually milded it.

Second by Stoners behavior that weekend and his attitude in general it is totally plausible. I mean whistling to Rossi like to a dog and saying he was looking for a tow... come on. Casey really looks to be driven by emotions and doesn't seem think to much before saying or doing something. He just goes with his heart. Which is to be appreciated, but sometimes is not the right way. You can't just do or say everything that pops in your head.

Also its hard to imagine Rossi keeping a lookout for Stoner. "Oh Oh, is Stoner out on track, :-o, I don't want to bump into him". I mean come on...

Otherwise... all good :)

To start off with it does not sound like Stoner, he may occasionally display quick tempered emotion, but that is what it is, a quick show of displeasure (tapping his seat, hand gestures) but waiting around to exact calculated revenge by firstly, wasting his track time waiting around, and secondly deliberately pulling a dangerous move; sounds uncharacteristic and I don't buy it.

Besides being out of character, I am curious to know if any other rider has complained about a blocked line in testing?

You say Rossi played down the incident, I think most people would come to the conclusion that there was no incident and a simple meeting on track during testing (were everyone is doing their own thing) has been turned first by mediaset into a white whale rumour and then Rossi has used the rumour to have a little joke and try to rile Stoner a little. If there really was a running off track incident I am sure more than "a little bird" would have seen it and more reputable and less sensational journalists than mediaset would have reported it.

The story is about Stoner waiting for Rossi, hardly building any credence to Stoner's allegations about Rossi following him.
The rumor/story got off from the WSBK paddock, afterwards when asked Rossi downplayed the whole thing. Hardly focusing playing mind games, actually he did praise the bike and said they were on the right track but I guess you are more interested in the kinds of news.

Really, posts like yours bring the level of an esteemed site like this down.

To be fair, Rossi didn't breathe a word of any of this until asked. Even then, he downplayed the significance. Hoping he and JB get the bike sorted soon so he and Casey can really race on equal terms. Even if you are not a Rossi fan, it's pretty undeniable that he makes for exciting races when he's on his game.

Stoner does not speak of incidents until asked, but that does not stop anyone calling him a moaner or Rossi deeming everyone but him and Simoncelli "pussies", so to be fair it sounds like VR is moaning about a total non event, he should be careful with that moaning, he might have to start calling himself a pussy.

"accusations that Simoncelli was a dangerous rider, a claim refuted by the Gresini Honda rider."

I'm not sure he refuted the claim - he simply denied it.

Well he certainly isn't a very smart rider, I'll give him that much.

He's quick enough to be a real championship competitor though.

Rossi smacks of desperation of late.

The results aren't there, the Ducati is touch and go at best, the weather has cleared up for this weekend.. he seriously has alot to sweat about!

In all seriousness though, these little quarrels tend to shy the attention away from a certain underperforming 9-time Champ's recent results.. when at the end of the day, that's all that matters and he's losing that battle by miles.

He definitely needs to become smarter and learn to manage himself. When that will happen it could be a serious problem.

For the others.

doesn't boil over excessively into a dumb action by one of the parties concerned on track. With the stakes so high I would hate to see another Capirossi on Harada moment.

""accusations that Simoncelli was a dangerous rider, a claim refuted by the Gresini Honda rider."

I'm not sure he refuted the claim - he simply denied it."

he didn't deny it either, he just said that the example Lorenzo used from last season when he passed him "was wrong and that wasn't a dangerous pass"

This is an Italian report about one of Italy's biggest sports stars. At a public event Rossi was asked about it -he didn't bring it up and when it was mentioned downplayed it. Had he said "no comment" then the press would have blown it out of all proportion.

No-one is expecting Rossi to win this year; so if he were to win a couple of races, the publicity would be huge. On the other hand, a large percentage of MotoGP fans were ready to give Stoner the championship before a race had started; so the pressure on him mounts with every race. At the last outing he was comprehensively beaten by his team mate and also his biggest rival for the championship in Jorge. He also had recurrence of an old back problem. It looks to me that Stoner needs another victory just as much as Rossi needs a podium. If Stoner has any sense he will ignore any such questions and arguments with Rossi and focus on the people ahead of him in the championship.

Whilst the anti-Rossi brigade may hate to admit it, Rossi is still the biggest draw to the sport. Most casual sports fans could easily identify him; the same is not true of Stoner. That has nothing to do with talent; it's to do with popularity and Rossi is easily the most popular rider. So anything that he says will make front page news in Italy and news everywhere else in the motorcycling press.

Let's hope so (but it does not look that way right now); otherwise, they cheapen the sport (which is what is happening now).

Rossi was clearly careless at Jerez, and Stoner paid dearly for that, while Rossi was able to recover somewhat. Bad luck for Stoner, to say the least. Wrong place, wrong time. And given how strong Lorenzo and Pedrosa are, not to mention the other riders showing promise, including Rossi himself, this incident may yet prove to have been a crucial setback to Stoner's hopes of winning the title.

And Rossi should have attempted a more sincere-looking apology (albeit I think he recognized he was at fault and was genuinely sorry), i.e. one with his helmet off and no TV cameras around. Which Stoner should have politely accepted.

Hopefully this will be it and then it will be back to racing.

Not sure but I see a little implied opinion on almost all this comments, and that is either:

A-This is very unimportant, which is sort of of what Rossi said.

Or

B-There´s no need of any evidence to relieve Stoner of all fault.

Maybe we are not as impartial as we like to think.

Completely agreed Javi.
This is an english speaking site were most of the comments are as biased as the italian newspapers stories are.
Same thing different place....

Personally Rossi and Sic are a big reason moto GP is fun to watch, When racing will get too dangerous for Lorenzo or Stoner I will just stick to watch the Dodgers game instead.....

Rossi under pressure? I'd say, at the moment, Stoner has much more to prove with his fans and much of the media ready to anoint him the 2011 WC after Sepang 2. After 3 races it's hardly like that with his team-mate beating him on pace with a sore shoulder. Desperation? Nah, but definite frustration and hes not making it better by focusing on completely wrong things (Rossi won't be winning the title this year, unfortunately).

the reason casey doesn't get on dani's case is twofold - he's the new blood at repsol and wants to stay there. also, dani doesn't seem to be effected by mind games (something we used to say about stoner... back in 2007 when he was untouchable). stoner has a chip on his shoulder from laguna, his issues with british (and other) fans, his lone wolf approach to all of racing and is in so many ways the opposite of rossi. they were bound to clash sooner or later... like most of you i'm entertained but hope it translates well to the track.

Rossi fans are like teenage girls at a Bieber concert. He's a great singer and puts on a good show (I think). But what spoils the show for me is seeing all those Bieber fans screaming, crying and gushing over the mere mention of his name.... kind of makes me swallow my own hurl! GIRLS... there are other great young singers out there just a good... Could you imagine though what those sreaming fans would do if one of these young upstart singers managed to hit a higher note, pushed Bieber away from the mike... or even stopped him from doing his famous encores?
I read the posts put on this fine site and I'm pretty confident I can point out (with a very high degree of accuracy) which country each poster comes from, almost down to the region in some cases. But what is obvious, is that if your not Italian you will support your rider first, then Rossi. What I'm trying to get at is that even on a site of such high quality as this, the posters are still very bias... they might try to cushion the blow first with a back handed compliment or add at the start, "I'm a Casey fan, but!" And you know darn well they're not, they're just trying to make their post appear balanced and unbiased. Some posters even forget what they say in other forms of media. Just want to say that if you maintain a `truly' unbias opinion and not let the `Bieber fever' get in the way, you just might appreciate this circus that is MotoGP a little more. By the way, I'm not a Casey fan ;)

¿What country am I from? I´ll say your form the US.

Interesting that my comment here was some what similar to yours but also different. I think around this parts Stoner has a lot fans and there are many Rossi hatters, if we where swampt in Rossi-lovers we would have suffer a hundred Stoner-bashing comments for this post.

By the way I´m a huge Rossi fan and I us to defend Stoner when people would not believe that he had a health issue (you acctually can support both of them). I just think Stoner is paying more attention to Rossi that what is good for him.

Strange that people seem to be jumping on Stoner as if he's the sole rider that doesn't like being followed. Remember how Rossi broke his leg last season? Yep slowing down to shake off a rider following him, which allowed his tyres to cool and the subsequent highside that followed when he speeded up again. More to the point, it was Barbera who wasn't even likely to have the speed to bother him in the race either .

It's hilarious that you don't see the difference. Of course no one likes to be followed, but sometimes you just have to deal with it with 17 riders in a 90-second track. While Stoner is berating the other guy, Rossi calmly slowed down and let Barbera past.

What's also interesting is that after the crash Rossi didn't put any blame on Barbera or didn't feel it was necessary to complain about riders following others. Seriously, had the same happened to Stoner we wouldve never hear the end of it.

Wrong.

Rossi made a big fuss about Barbera following him actually, and also threw out there that it was the very reason that Hector was faster than himself at the time.

Wrong.

If your not too busy making things up, saying he slowed down to let Barbera through and get himself some space isn't "making a big fuss". Now I don't know what you're trying to say with that second sentence, Rossi was 2nd (after Lorenzo, not Barbera) in the FP2 at the time so that can't be it.

Ok, I am a big VR fan as you can see by my ID... let's get that out the way.

Rossi has always maintained that tough battles and hard riding is fun, he's said it when he's won, he's said it when he's lost out. I think Rossi loves the media attention (and that is partly why I love him as a character) and all of these squabbles suit him. What is going on at the moment is the same as what he's always done to a number of riders... I really can't see why people think all of a sudden, he is the one sweating about other riders. This is part of his game and to me it's obvious it bothers the other riders in some form, be it embarrassment or even simple annoyance, Rossi is the champion of this.

The thing that remains is that Rossi has nothing to prove to anyone. Under performing, poor bike, injury, whatever the reasons may be, he's still a 9-time world champion and 2 of those championships (even that is twice the number of Stoner's total) have come since Stoner won his.
This leaves me a little perplexed as to why so many people appear on this site defending Stoner to the hilt... until he backs up his speed (which nobody can deny, he is a damn fast rider - and yes I respect that side of him) with consistency and titles, he will be in the shadow of Rossi - this is exactly why the mind games have no bearing on Rossi in my opinion.

Sure, call me biased or whatever, but at least there is reasoning within my post, it's not fuelled with a weird hatred towards a particular rider. I respect all for their capabilities.