Casey Stoner’s long serving crew chief Cristian Gabbarini has taken up a new senior role inside the Honda’s official factory MotoGP garage for 2013.
The highly respected Italian will take up a technical supervisor role with immediate affect after Stoner retired at the end of the 2012 world championship campaign in Valencia earlier this month.
Gabbarini will act as a link between the Repsol Honda squad and HRC technical staff in Japan, communicating rider feedback and helping coordinate development of the factory RC213V.
He confirmed his role will see him predominantly work with reigning Moto2 world champion Marc Marquez.
With Marquez permitted to bring his own crew chief Santi Hernandez from Moto2 to Repsol Honda for 2013, the teenage Spaniard will work with all but one of the squad that worked with Stoner.
Gabbarini’s appointment underlines the high regard in which he is held by Honda’s Japanese management, as it is the first senior technical position to be filled by a European member of staff.
He told MCN: “My position in the team is different compared to last season. Now I am like a technical supervisor, so when something new is tested in Japan they let me know the results.
"Kokubu-san (HRC Technical Director) asked me to help the team speak to the factory and translate the feeling of the rider back to the factory and try to give a direction for the development.
"This is not an easy job and quite scary, also because it is the first time that the Japanese have allowed a European to do a job like this.
"But I hope that the experience we have with Casey in the last six years, including four with Ducati, can help HRC give the best bike possible to Marc. A bike is a bike and the problems are almost the same.”
Gabbarini was a major influence in Stoner’s career and he worked as the Australian’s crew chief at Ducati between 2007 and 2010. Together they won 23 races and a historic first world title for Ducati in 2007.
He then moved with Stoner to HRC for 2011 and 2012 where the 27-year-old won further 15 races, as well as capturing Honda’s first premier class world title since 2006 last year.