Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait

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Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait
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Sports & scene

Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait

Portrait: Comparison Mick Doohan / Casey Stoner
The MotoGP riders from Australia

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Two fearless fighters, two world champions, two generations at Repsol Honda. They come from the same corner of the world where most kids only think of surfing. But they became racers, two Australian superheroes.

Uwe Seitz

02/22/2012

Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner – somehow they must be made of the same clay. They have so much in common that one could almost believe that there is something like a genetic racing legacy hidden in Queensland’s soil that spits out a new Aussie fighter every 20 years. Doohan 1965, Stoner 1985, the next in 2005. Which would mean that somewhere on Australia’s Gold Coast a 7-year-old genius is plowing through the sand with his mini-crosser in order to rule MotoGP in 2025.

There are actually many reasons why Quick Mick and Stoner, both born just 40 miles from each other (Doohan in Brisbane, Stoner in Southport), have so many racing attributes in common. The most important thing: Both are products of a very ambitious Australian sports world, especially the highly competitive dirt track scene Down Under. That is why they are so ultra-tough opponents, famous for their mental strength and their ability to subordinate a motorcycle to their absolute will.

You grew up drifting sideways on dirt, balancing the motorcycle with the throttle open and the handlebars turned. They are guaranteed not to break into a sweat when the bike bucks along the limit. In fact, that’s when they are most brilliant. Just think of how Mick Doohan defeated Honda’s malicious NSR 500 or Casey Stoner’s masterpiece at Ducati in the saddle of the indomitable Desmosedici.

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Portrait: Comparison Mick Doohan / Casey Stoner
The MotoGP riders from Australia

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When Doohan appeared in the Grand Prix in the late 1980s, his driving style immediately made a splash. He threw the NSR into the curve so hard that everyone expected the front wheel to collapse. Sometimes it was like that. But mostly not. After all, his technique changed the Grand Prix forever. Until Doohan came along, the 500s were all about the rear wheel and corner exit: slow in, fast out. But Doohan was the guy quick in, quick out. His radical style made better front tires indispensable, which in turn helped the Europeans without the dirt track experience afterwards to compete against the armada of dirt track heroes from the USA and Australia on the 500s.

Stoner also stands out from the others with his technique. His unique use of throttle, rear brake and motorcycle guidance allowed him to do these unbelievable things on the Ducati that even superstar Valentino Rossi can’t do. Now on the Honda the field can only watch him in amazement.

The aggression of the two comes from the dirt track as well as their talent. Stoner and Doohan are said to always attack. They learned that when they drove twelve elimination runs plus the final run in one day. Races that lasted seconds rather than minutes. These competitions make it essential to attack straight away. You can’t wait and see. They took this lesson with them to GP training: Doohan never actually did a slow lap, Stoner never did a slow lap. Her motto: Head down and get out on the track.

There are other amazing similarities away from the slopes. Stoner prefers to be on his own, much like Doohan was. Neither of them likes the press or the whole PR circus. Mick Doohan has had some famous arguments with journalists from his racing career. One of the most amusing took place in Buenos Aires in 1998, when a local scribe pestered him with truly banal questions and he answered them in prisoner-of-war fashion with the same words over and over: “My name is Mick Doohan, Australian, I’m a racing driver for Repsol Honda and drive the GP of Argentina. “


Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait


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Unmistakably “Quick Mick”: Doohan’s style was quick in, quick out – the butt too.

Stoner also had his moments with the media. “I’m here to race, all the rest of it is pure murder for me,” he said a few years ago. “I hate that kind of attention and would rather hide in the corner like a mouse.”

Recently, however, he’s been much more relaxed in the spotlight and amazingly eloquent when it comes to his driving style. Doohan was never that open about his skills. “I have no idea how I do it,” was his answer, which meant nothing more than that he thought it was a waste of time to tell an unsuspecting journalist about motorcycling by his standards.

And that’s why you have to recognize with all similarities that there are two different people. Even if both come from the Aussie dirt track, their careers took a completely different course up to the top of the motorcycle world. Doohan’s path was more of a coincidence than it was back then, before the sport was so tightly ordered. Mick also started driving – later as a Stoner and competed in his first race at the comparatively advanced age of ten – a full six years after Stoner!

Both boys had race-crazy fathers, but Doohan’s career was cut short by his father’s untimely death. Without his support to accompany Little Mick to the races and to maintain his motorcycles, Doohan’s ambition diminished. He tried again every few years, but his heart wasn’t attached to it. Teenage Doohan was more into hanging out, burning around on street bikes, and having fun – drinking beer, smoking weed, and chasing girls. Even when he discovered the local racetrack, he initially only did it to pass the time. At that time he showed up at Surfers Paradise during the open track days with his RD 250 LC without ambitions. “He never checked the tire pressure or anything,” his older brother Scott recalls. “He was sliding around because he barely had a bar of air pressure in the old silt. His T-shirt fluttered out of the back of his old two-piece leather suit. He was really haphazard back then, it was all about the fun. “

Only after some persuasion from friends and owners of local motorcycle shops, who recognized his tremendous talent, did Doohan start in a 250cc hobby class. From there it went. Even when some well-known Superbike teams were after him, Doohan wasn’t sure if he wanted more than his 250cc: “Anything faster than 200 km / h seemed completely idiotic to me.”

This is in stark contrast to Stoner’s career, who has actually never done anything other than racing since he was born. Always with one goal: MotoGP glory. With the support and guidance of his father Colin, everything revolved around racing when young Casey first hit the Hatchers Dirt Track in Queensland when he was four. From then on, racing not only dominated his life, but that of the whole family. When he soon dominated all races in the larger area, the parents moved to New South Wales, where the competition was far tougher. When he was King there too, the Stoners relocated to England because of Casey’s road racing career. In Australia the minimum age for this was 16, in England 14. There was nothing for Colin and Bronwyn Stoner to think about. They sold all their belongings and from then on lived in the mobile home.


Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait


Repsol Honda

“Casey Stoner will rule MotoGP in 2012 with his style and the Honda,” said Doohan.

When Stoner wasn’t racing, he would sit in front of the television and watch Mighty Mick’s races, who literally executed the competition in the 500s. From watching the videos over and over again, Stoner got tremendous respect for Doohan and wanted to become like him. He not only admired his driving style, but above all Doohan’s comeback after the horror accident in Assen in 1992. “I’ve always dreamed of following him,” says Stoner. “But it’s actually impossible to get injured like that and then still become world champion. It’s not that easy to do. ”Stoner followed Doohan into the premier class, but his path led through the 125cc and 250cc cc, not the superbikes. And he had actually never known the normal life of a teenager, like Doohan once did with his wild parties and the occasional trouble with the police (at 20 his driver’s license had already been taken five times). Stoner is the complete opposite: he doesn’t drink and doesn’t have a motorcycle license at all.

It sure is far too early to put Stoner on a par with Doohan or to predict if he will ever make it to five premier league titles. But if Honda’s 1000cc RCV becomes a real rocket again, don’t bet against it.

To the DVD “10 years of MotoGP” in the PS and MOTORRAD shop.

Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait

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Portrait: Casey Stoner


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Stoner over Doohan, Doohan over Stoner

Stoner: “As a child Mick inspired me a lot and I learned something from him that I have always taken to heart in my entire career: Never give up, no matter what. Nothing could stop Mick. In his early days, he was harshly criticized for his win-or-hospital mentality, but he just kept fighting and pushing until he was the greatest. In 1992 he was actually already world champion, then this terrible accident happened. It looked like he could never come back. But Mick came back, against all expert assessments, and won five titles in a row. Nobody in racing history has done anything like this after injuries like this. That’s why he’s the greatest for me. I don’t want to copy him, but I try to imitate him as much as possible. What he’s achieved in racing is huge, and that’s why I want to follow in his footsteps. “

Doohan: “Casey always wants to be faster than everyone else. A quality that I definitely had too. But Kenny Roberts had it before me too. The way Casey drives is great: if you want to dominate, you have to do the things that others don’t. He looks good on the bike and some of what he does is just amazing. That has to do with self-confidence: By always pushing himself to the limit, he gets more confidence in the motorcycle, even if it wriggles back and forth under him. It never looks like he’s out of control. He’s got it under control. I just wanted to race, and Casey seems to be the same way. If a journalist annoyed me, why should I bother with it? All this crap is tiresome and I didn’t want anything to do with it.

To the DVD “10 years of MotoGP” in the PS and MOTORRAD shop.

Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner in portrait

Sports & scene


Portrait: Casey Stoner


The dominator of the 2011 MotoGP season


read more

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