Casey Stoner’s early mentor Alberto Puig has said he is proud to have played a part in helping launch the new MotoGP world champion’s international racing career.
Alberto Puig gave Casey Stoner his first big break to set him on the road to stardom by plucking him from the British 125 championship to race in the Spanish series in 2001.
The Spaniard recommended Casey Stoner to Lucio Cecchinello for 2002 and since then the 21-year-old has carved out a reputation as one of racing’s hottest young talents.
Out of loyalty and respect to Alberto Puig, Stoner has always raced with the number 27 he was given during his first year in the Telefonica MoviStar team in the Spanish 125 championship.
Toni Elias (24) and Dani Pedrosa (26) have also kept their numbers given to them by Alberto Puig.
“For a long time I’ve being saying Casey was fast, so for me it is not a big surprise. He’s done a very good job, he has had the equipment, had the opportunity but he took it
“Many people talk about the Ducati and Bridgestone but Casey has been riding very well and there is no question about this. You can have everything going for you but some riders have this and never do the job, Casey has done it,” said Puig.
The former Honda 500 GP rider said he took great personal pride having seen Casey Stoner convert promise and potential into his first major world championship success.
“First of all I feel happy for Casey because he’s a nice guy, he respects me and he knows I respect him.
“I have the satisfaction that at one moment in his career I tried to help him and his family, it was very nice for me at that time and I feel good about it.
“I think he could have done the same without my help but perhaps it would have been a little more difficult,” added Puig.