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Casey Stoner leaves 250 for 2003 and will form partnership with Cecchinello in 125

Casey Stoner leaves 250 for 2003 and will form partnership with Cecchinello in 125

Casey Stoner leaves 250 for 2003 and will form partnership with Cecchinello in 125

The young Australian phenomenon, Casey Stoner, will drop down a category next year it was announced yesterday. The 17 year-old will continue in the Safilo Oxydo Race team managed by Lucio Cecchinello, but instead of keeping his quarter-litre machine he will be riding one of their Aprilia 125s, alongside the boss. Stoner will now be expected to be amongst the top riders in the smallest class of the MotoGP World Championships.

`It´s exciting news to arrive just before Christmas,´ said Stoner, who is currently at the family home in Australia taking a well earned rest. `I\'m raring to get on the more competitive bike next year. Although it will be a smaller machine than the one I have been riding throughout 2002 in 250, it is still an important step forward, because for the first time I will form part of a factory team and will have full support from Aprilia´.

Italian Cecchinello, who won three times in the 125cc class this year, will continue to play guide and mentor in this next stage of the youngster´s career; and from the best position possible too - out on the track as his teammate. Stoner had an impressive debut World Championship season with the Safilo Oxydo Race LCR squad, with a kitted 250 which was down on power to the official Aprilias. Now Stoner is convinced that the 125 Aprilia he will brandish in the next campaign can take him to new heights, `Lucio had a fantastic season with this bike, and for that reason I can envisage myself fighting for podium positions in 2003,´ Stoner added with confidence.

`I´m also very excited about having Lucio as my teammate,´ the New South Wales teenager admitted. `Lucio has years of experience and is willing to help me in my apprenticeship. I am confident that we will have a good season and I aim to put all my effort into getting some top results next year´.

Tags:
125cc, 2002, Casey Stoner

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