MotoGP star Casey Stoner has returned fire at rival Valentino Rossi after the Italian accused him of easing off this season. Angered by the attack, the Australian reminded Rossi that he was being beaten this year by his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
The war of words comes as the pair line up for the new Grand Prix of Aragon in Spain this weekend.
Both Rossi and Stoner will swap teams at the end of this season.
Rossi is taking up Stoner’s spot at Ducati while the Australian has been recruited to try to rejuvenate the Honda factory team.
But Rossi says it is hard to judge the potential of the Ducati because Stoner does not ride the machine to its limits.
“It is very difficult to understand the level of the Ducati because Stoner doesn’t push at 100 per cent,” Rossi said.
“Both (Honda’s Dani) Pedrosa and Lorenzo work a lot in practice on their bikes and they try to understand everything with long runs but Stoner makes just one lap, so it is difficult to understand the performance.”
Stoner has rejected the Italian champion’s assessment, saying he should sort out his own problems first.
“I don’t care about his opinion, at the moment he’s getting his arse kicked by his teammate so he has to worry about that first,” Stoner said.
“Somebody else is doing a better job in the same garage.”
Stoner has had a miserable year struggling with the front end of his bike and is without a win in 12 races.
Rossi has just one victory while his Yamaha teammate Lorenzo is headed for the title – although Rossi missed several rounds with a broken leg.
“I can’t get anymore out of the bike or myself,” Stoner said.
“I’m happy with my performances. Things are constantly going wrong and we haven’t got the speed, simple as that.”
“And if he’s fast from the beginning (with Ducati) without all the testing he will just say he’s a genius.”
Stoner says Ducati has had limited developmental resources in his time at the team Rossi is understood to be greeted by a massive engineering assault in 2011.