Stephens joined In the Fast Lane co-hosts Matt Clayton and Chris Vermeulen, to discuss his MotoGP™ career and provided an insight into his time with Rossi at the height of his career.
The New Zealander was a key member of Rossi’s team for 56 wins - Stephens felt the crew clicked into gear as soon as the Italian superstar joined Yamaha.
“It was great right from the word go. He was very accommodating … it was easy straight off the bat to be honest.”
“It’s not till you’re out of it and you sort of think about the situations, how popular he was and what we had to go through to keep him safe, it’s just like madness ... it took a bit to get used to,” he continued.
Stephens experienced plenty of highs but revealed his thoughts on what didn’t work when Rossi made the switch from Yamaha to Ducati in 2011.
“I think the biggest underlying thing is that Yamaha, they threw everything at it and were prepared to do anything. Whereas I don’t feel, in hindsight, that Ducati were prepared to do that,” said Stephens.
“They weren’t open-minded enough to try enough stuff to try fix the bike. I mean they fixed in time, but it took another five years or so for them to fix it.”
Photography courtesy of Russell Colvin.
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