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Former MotoGP™ World Champion, six-time Phillip Island winner and ex-Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner is attending the Tissot Australian Grand Prix this weekend.
The 2007 and 2011 premier class World Champion was honoured by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation on Friday as a bronze sculpture of him was unveiled alongside busts of Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan. Gardner and Doohan were of course World Champions and Phillip Island winners like Stoner and all three are MotoGP Legends.
Stoner commented, "To be alongside Mick and Wayne and to have this bestowed upon me, is quite impressive and it is something that I don’t feel that I deserve. It is something that is going to be here for a very long time and it has made me feel very proud. After this and being inducted as a MotoGP Legend last year it is something very unique. It is something special and something I thought would never happen."
Asked about the current generation and the 2014 achievements of Marc Marquez – who took over from Stoner in the Repsol Honda team for 2013 and has gone on to become the youngest ever double-MotoGP World Champion, Stoner replied, "It has been an exceptional season for Marc, all the race wins in a row, the poles, it's extremely impressive."
"There’s nothing to say against it, complete domination. He hasn’t really had anyone challenge him. Dani, Jorge and Valentino have all made mistakes that just allowed him to get ahead."
With Marquez delivering the MotoGP title for HRC on home soil last weekend in Japan, making it three premier class world titles for Honda riders in the last four years, including Stoner’s 2011 title triumph, the Australian commented, "Honda’s domination is something that makes me proud. Before we got there it wasn’t the most popular bike and we worked hard with it, it was already a great bike."
"There were one or two things we did to make the bike more comfortable for me but I think it’s a fantastic bike. All the bikes are capable of winning, but in terms of simplicity Honda is the best one to work with."
On his testing role with HRC and a plan to return to helping them develop their MotoGP prototype, Stoner added, "It was nice to test with Honda. I felt bad almost leaving when I did. Two of our tests last year got rained out so that was not good. We’re going to do another test to make up for that and hopefully I can give some good information, I haven’t been on a bike for exactly a year when we do go to test so it’ll be a little strange."
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