We are of course still some way off revealing the full untold wealth of star drivers, riders and machinery which will feature at the Festival of Speed in June. However we did allow out of the bag the names of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi just to whet the appetite a little.
Said by some to be two of the most naturally talented riders of all time, the pair did battle on track on many occasions before the Australian’s retirement at the end of the 2012 season. And it’s that final season of Stoner’s we revisit for this week’s celebration of the 2015 FoS theme ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the edge.’
The scene is a rainy Le Mans, with Stoner on the Honda RC213V and Rossi on the Ducati Desmosedici GP12. For all his ability, the great Italian’s time on the Ducati is not one he will look back on with fondness. Like many riders before him (with the notable exception of Stoner) he just couldn’t get the bike to see things his way and second place was the best finish he managed before returning to Yamaha. However, when conditions were somewhat inclement, as they were at Le Mans, he seemed to get on with it much better and his pace was generally there or thereabouts.
Although this looks like a scrap for the lead, Rossi’s old team mate Jorge Lorenzo had long-since scarpered on his Yamaha, leaving our two protagonists to fight for the second step on the podium. And fight they did.
What has to be borne in mind is that at the previous season’s race at a wet Jerez, Rossi had taken Stoner and himself out in an ambitious move which angered the Australian to say the very least. We can only imagine what he must have been thinking each time the Italian poked the nose of his Ducati down the inside of the Honda.
I wonder if we can get them to ride up the hill together at FoS?