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Casey Stoner riding better than ever before, says Honda's Livio Suppo

Casey Stoner US Grand Prix Honda 2011

Casey Stoner is riding better than at any other stage of his career, according to Honda marketing chief Livio Suppo.

As the mastermind behind Ducati's MotoGP project, Suppo signed a 21-year-old Stoner to the Italian manufacturer's squad in his title-winning year of 2007, and was also influential in bringing him across to Honda for this season.

Having seen Stoner's performances at close quarters within both outfits, Suppo has seen a clear development in his riding.

"In 2007 he was 21 years old, now he's 25: he's still young, but four years at that age make a huge difference," Suppo told Gazzetta dello Sport. "In fact, he feels stronger himself.

"Back then, it was said that he was winning just because he had the Bridgestones and a super-quick Ducati on the straights, while now with the control tyre and other riders with the same bike everyone realises that he's the one making the difference: he's doing something extraordinary.

"He was phenomenal in 2007 already, but if you said that then you'd be called a loony, while now everyone is convinced. As a rider he is finding incredible balance: by having more experience with the Honda, he manages to handle difficulties better.

"His strength also comes from competitive tension, that's why he needs the right people at his side: his team is excellent at managing him."

Stoner heads to this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix at Misano with a 44-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo in the world championship, having won the last three races and seven in total this year. Just 150 points are still available.

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