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Wayne Gardner on 2013 and Stoner

Wayne Gardner on 2013 and Stoner

Halfway through the MotoGP™ season, Wayne Gardner has been impressed and surprised by the action so far. The 500 class champion of 1987 also shares his opinions on the upcoming test outings for compatriot Casey Stoner.

Speaking in the Keeping Track podcast on the run-up to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix of October, Gardner was mightily impressed with Repsol Honda Team rookie Marc Marquez who is leading the championship after three race wins from the opening nine Grands Prix.

"It has shocked me a little," Gardner admitted of Marquez. "I know that he is obviously a very talented rider and he is Spain’s new sensation. I don’t doubt his ability but I’m really surprised at how fast he has adapted to a MotoGP bike. He is still a little erratic and takes a lot of risks, but he seems to pull it off all of the bike. I think it has been a little bit of a disaster for (Jorge) Lorenzo and (Dani) Pedrosa as well, although Pedrosa has a bit of a history of these sorts of things, but in general I’m very surprised by Marquez’s progress – it’s been incredible."

Last week, it was confirmed that Stoner – World Champion of 2007 and 2011 who retired from MotoGP at the end of last year – is to run in several tests for Honda, starting at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on 6-7 August.

"It took me by surprise," Gardner, now 53 and living in Spain, says about his fellow countryman. "I didn’t expect he would want to get back on the bike again. It’s very hard to find anything in the world to replace the thrill of riding a Grand Prix bike [and] I think he is looking for that adrenalin rush again.

"He has got time, I don’t doubt his ability and I think he could come back. In most cases with people who retire and then come back, it usually turns into a disaster, but the difference here is that Casey is still an exceptional talent and he is still relatively young in the sport. I guess it depends on whether he likes it or not and if Honda feel confident enough."

Gardner’s own title win for Honda came when Stoner was just one year old, as the New South Wales rider fended off the challenges of Randy Mamola and Eddie Lawson to become the first ever Australian World Champion.

MotoGP, 2013

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