Casey Stoner points finger at what Honda should do to find a new star rider

Repsol Honda should target a young Moto2 talent rather than an experienced veteran to kickstart its post-Marc Marquez era.
Casey Stoner, Australian MotoGP
Casey Stoner, Australian MotoGP

That’s the opinion of the team’s 2011 world champion Casey Stoner, who says HRC would benefit more from someone “young, fast, hungry” than a mature rider “with baggage”.

Such a move would also mirror the aftermath of Stoner’s own retirement at the end of 2012, when young rookie Marquez took over the Australian’s vacant Repsol Honda ride alongside Dani Pedrosa (although HRC originally hoped Marquez would partner Stoner).

“I’d probably try and bring a talent up from Moto2,” Stoner told TNT Sports at Phillip Island. “Everybody loves to talk about maturity or experience but, half the time, that comes with baggage. Their own ideology of what they want.

“When you’ve got somebody young, fast, hungry, willing to do whatever it takes, I think that’s the option they need to go for. You don’t need a leader of the team if it’s not the right leader.

“It’s easy to say we need an experienced rider to lead the development, but when you haven’t got a rider willing to do everything to put the team in the right direction, it’s very easy to get selfish and say ‘it’s not doing what I want it to’.

“Often there are a lot of bikes within one bike - you can change everything, there are so many aspects to these things that they should be exploring. If they get someone willing to go outside of their comfort zone…”

Stoner: ‘It’s a big hit for Honda’

Stoner admitted he was surprised that the six-time MotoGP champion, a winner of 59 grands prix for Repsol Honda, had been released from the final year of his contract, clearing the way for a move to Gresini Ducati next season.

“The fact that he was under contract is a surprise move. I’m surprised that Honda let him go,” said Stoner, who won his first MotoGP crown with Ducati in 2007.

“I would’ve been holding onto him with everything that they could.

“It will be really hard for them to fish any high-end talent to come across to Repsol Honda.

“It is going to be less of a loss for Marc, he gets to go to Ducati and understand what he’s been looking at, get an idea if he’s able to ride the bike.

“It’s a big hit for Honda. It will be hard for them to attract new talent when they’ve been spoken so badly about.

“As long as they get somebody in with the right attitude and they go: ‘This is what I’ve got, I’ll give the best’. You’ll be surprised how far they move up the grid.”

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