New factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso believes Casey Stoner’s absence from the track in 2013 will be a big loss to the MotoGP world championship.
The Aussie retired at the end of last season after winning two world titles and 38 MotoGP races having fallen out of love with racing.
Stoner remains the only rider to have consistently won races on a Ducati Desmosedici and his performances outshone the likes of Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.
He won 23 races in a four-year spell with the Bologna factory that also delivered a historic first world title in 2007.
Dovizioso is the latest to try and emulate Stoner’s success having signed a two-year deal to ride a Desmosedici Speaking about the future of MotoGP without his former Repsol Honda teammate Stoner, Dovizioso said: “A lot is going to change. Since I am a fan of bikes, to see Casey ride was a show and I am going to miss what he could do and how he did it on the bike with his style.
It is going to be easier of course because a competitor like him is always difficult to beat, but I think Casey changed a lot in MotoGP. For example, the approach to testing and the lines he took on the track. All riders try to study and improve and Casey was one of the riders that we took as a reference.
If you look at the past nobody was able to go strong and fast from the first or second lap. Casey always did it and all of us have got closer. I recall when Valentino (Rossi) was dominating that in the post race tests he could within four laps do the same lap as the record in the race. But Casey could do this on the first lap.
But we have all become aware that this can be done and we can all try and do it. Not having a strong and talented reference though is something we are all going to miss.”