Experience key for Casey Stoner, says Ducati boss

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Casey Stoner will be a stronger rival to Valentino Rossi in 2009 because of the experience the Aussie gained in defeat last season.

Factory team boss Livio Suppo believes Stoner will bounce back stronger after he was comprehensively beaten by Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi, who won his sixth premier class crown in 2008.

Stoner’s 2008 was marred by early season problems with the factory Ducati GP8, and two critical mistakes in Brno and Misano effectively killed off his hopes of mounting a successful defence to the title he won so convincingly in 2007.

And Suppo told MCN: “Everybody forgets that Casey is still so young and he won the title at a very young age.

"Of course he misses some experience compared to Valentino and we have to remember that if Valentino weren’t around then Casey would be a double world champion now.

"To beat Valentino is not easy and he is probably the strongest rider ever. If Casey had something to learn it is just gaining more experience and nothing else. In 2008 he proved that he could comeback after difficult times.

"Apart from Qatar, at the beginning of the season we were struggling but he came back and he won three races in a row and we came back into the  world championship fight.

"We then had some difficult races with mistakes in Brno and Misano but he still ended the season very strongly.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt