Valencia MotoGP: Crew move crucial, says Casey Stoner

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Casey Stoner has told MCN how crucial it is that his entire crew will join him in Honda’s official factory squad in 2011.

Stoner has quit Ducati to join HRC and as part of the two-year deal, he will move en masse with his entire crew. 

The 24-year-old said it was vital that his crew, led by Cristian Gabbarini, were also making the switch as he bids to become the first rider in the 800cc era to win the MotoGP crown for Honda.

The 2007 world champion told MCN: “They are my guys and my family. I know they would follow me through volcanoes and everything and I love them as much as they love me. We have become such a family and there was really no question that we’d separate.

"We didn’t have to deny the rumours but there was no doubt ever that they weren’t coming with me. I’ve had a great four years with them and didn’t want it to end with them.”

Stoner said the emotion of leaving Ducati  would probably not hit until after Sunday's 30-lap race in Valencia.

Stoner has won 23 races for Ducati and is the most successful rider in the 800cc era and he added: “To be honest it has been the same all season. It won’t be until after the race that all the emotion will come out. It will be strange on Sunday but I’m still going out there to win and I’ve been doing that since I was out of the running. I maybe criticised for it but I’ve just been going out there to win races rather than just score points.

"I don’t mind where I finish in the championship, I’m out there to win and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I think we’ve got a really good chance to win and that’s the best I can do for Ducati. I’ve appreciated my time with them and we’ve had a great relationship, especially with Filippo (Preziosi).

"It was a more difficult moment when we made the decision to switch rather than the eventual switch. We’ve had all year to get over it and focus on the season in hand. For sure after this last race is probably when it will be a little sad in some ways but exciting in other ways.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt