Wayne Gardner tips Casey Stoner to bounce back in 2009

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Former world 500cc champion Wayne Gardner believes Casey Stoner has what it takes to bounce back from his convincing defeat to Valentino Rossi next season.

Gardner, who won the premier class world title in 1987, reckons Stoner will comeback stronger having learned how to cope with the pressure and demands of being number one in ’08.

A sudden and surprise slump in results around August and September, coinciding with Rossi hitting a purple patch in form that, saw Stoner surrender his world crown with three races of the season remaining.

But Gardner believes Stoner is capable of turning the tables on Rossi next season and he said: “It is harder to back it up than to win it. During the off-season everyone else improves around you.

“This year Casey’s bike wasn’t as good and he has had to work hard and it hasn’t worked out. The extra media pressure and the pressure of being number one, you need to learn how to handle it.

“Casey is very young but he will get there and he has still been good this year. I’m sure he will back stronger than ever.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt