Rossi: Stoner never forgot Laguna 2008
...Casey Stoner responds: "I think Valentino feels a little more brave now that I'm not there :)
UPDATE I: Casey Stoner has responded to Valentino Rossi's comments, writing on Twitter: "I think Valentino feels a little more brave now that I'm not there :)"
The Australian added: "I think Marc Marquez will do a good job stirring things up next year also, should be good to watch!"
Reigning Moto2 champion Marquez is taking over Stoner's RCV ride at Repsol Honda...
UPDATE II: On Friday (December 14) Dainese posted the following message on Facebook, which states that their article used quotes from an 'old interview' with Rossi - meaning the quotes are true, but not made recently and thus out of context - something they omitted to mention in the magazine. Dainese do not say when the quotes were originally made.
However no statement has been sent out by the Dainese Press Office - which emailed the press to inform them about the latest issue of the Legends magazine - or placed on the Dainese website, where the article is still available in its original form:
"Considering the exaggerated echo of an article about the career of Valentino Rossi, we would like to highlight that the words published in the latest issue of the Dainese Legends magazine have been taken out from an old interview and consequently reported out of the original context.
"We wish to apologize for all the polemic comments that neither Valentino nor Dainese ever wanted to instigate."
Valentino Rossi has claimed that newly retired double MotoGP champion Casey Stoner 'started to hate him' after suffering a bitter defeat at the hands of the Italian in the 2008 US GP.
The Laguna Seca race was the turning point of the season - Ducati's reigning champion Stoner dominating practice and qualifying, only for Rossi to smother the Australian's advantage in the race.
Whenever Stoner moved ahead Rossi retaliated, the most memorable - and controversial - move seeing Rossi bouncing his Yamaha beyond the corkscrew kerbing to retake the lead.
Stoner later ran off track and dropped his Ducati, remounting to finish second. The #27 was unimpressed by Rossi's moves, refusing to shake the Italian's hand in park ferme, although he did so at the following round.
The battle - along with Rossi's last turn pass on Jorge Lorenzo in Catalunya 2009 - became one of the defining moments of the 800cc MotoGP era.
Rossi - later on the receiving end of Stoner's "did your ambition outweigh your talent?" comment after a clash at Jerez in 2010 - feels his relationship with the Australian was never the same after the Californian encounter.
In the latest issue of Dainese's Legends magazine, Rossi is said to have 'mischievously' commented: "Stoner started to hate me just because he lost [at Laguna]. After that, he always seemed to talk about the past, this race, because he wasn't man enough to understand that at that time, he lost!"
Rossi went on to win his sixth premier-class crown in 2008, then a seventh in 2009, before breaking his leg during 2010 and making an ill-fated switch to Ducati the following year.
Reflecting on the evolution of MotoGP, Rossi feels that the sport and its competitors have now become 'too serious'.
"In the last few years, the sport has become too serious and so have the riders. In the past, it was more just about bravery but now everybody is more serious and very athletic. They diet and train a lot and don't have a normal life. I think it's important to be able to have fun too!"
Winless since 2010, Rossi is returning to Yamaha for next season, where he will attempt to revive his career alongside reigning double champion Lorenzo.
The Doctor will be 34-years-old by the Qatar opener, but says his addiction to winning is as incurable as ever.
"The taste of the victory is different from all other things. It's like a drug. This is the main reason for racing. Unfortunately, it's very short-lived - only three or four hours - the next day, you need more. It never stops."
Rossi holds the all-time record for premier-class wins with 79 since his debut in 2000, but his most recent win was at Sepang 2010.