Stoner: Marquez felt threatened by me at Honda

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Double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has revealed in an interview for MCN with fellow Australian journalist Colin Young that part of the reasoning that saw him make a shock switch from Honda test rider back to Ducati ahead of the 2016 season was the attitude displayed towards his test rider role by Honda golden boy Marc Marquez.

“I was just a test rider for Honda, there was no ambassadorial role, and I wasn’t being used to my potential. I loved working with the HRC guys like Shuhei Nakamoto (HRC vice- president), Shinichi Kokubu (HRC Technical Director) plus my crew chief Cristian Gabarrini, and Andy Dawson from Öhlins.

“But I think Marc and his crew felt in some way threatened by me and I’m not sure why. I was there to test and help, and I know Honda’s number one rider is the guy they have to follow. There are absolutely no hard feelings towards Honda and I have huge respect for Nakamoto, so our relationship will be fine in the future.”

Instead, the 30-year-old will return to the brand he won his first MotoGP title with, not only as a test rider but also in a greatly expanded ambassadorial role – a role that the notoriously PR-shy racer seems to be relishing already.

“I’ve always had something special with Ducati even though it got a little sour after my illness in 2009. Some people thought I was replaceable. It hurt at the time.

“Now there is an opportunity to be involved 360 degrees with the company as a brand ambassador, not just the race team, and I think my test ability will be quite useful to them.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer