The multiple Australian championship winner will ride the Gresini CRT machine, an FTR-Honda, in 2013, and is looking forward to the the season ahead. Adapting to the bike will be the Staring's biggest challenge, but track knowledge won't as experience in European Superstock competition means the 25-year-old will be familiar with most of the circuits on the 2013 calendar,
You must be really excited…
Yeah I definitely am, it's everything I've dreamed of. I've been racing motorbikes for a long time and it's been a long road for me to get to this point. It's a fantastic opportunity in a category that I've watched and dreamed of racing in since I was really young, so I'm happy.
How did it come about?
The team contacted me and we started negotiations. I never expected to be in the Grand Prix next year so I was chasing stuff in World Superbikes, different opportunities in different categories in the Superbike Championship and then when this opportunity arose it was one I definitely couldn't say no to.
What's your initial perception of the team?
I have to say I'm pretty green and I don't really know too much about the Grand Prix paddock. I haven't been to a GP in Europe, only the one here in Phillip Island in Australia. I pretty much only know the Grand Prix from what I see on TV. But so far the team has been fantastic to deal with and they've made life as easy as possible for me. I've already spoken with my chief engineer and I'm just excited about starting and getting involved with everything.
Have you been following MotoGP and CRT this year?
Yeah definitely. It's the premier category of racing in the world and I think all the riders in Superbikes follow what's happening in MotoGP, and I especially follow Casey as a fellow Australian.
What do you think about CRT?
It's definitely proven to be a good concept, to give people like myself the opportunity to come into that category. I can't predict the future and I don't know how it's going to pan out for the CRT class but I think it's inevitable that there's got to be some sort of budget cuts or restraints in MotoGP, or it seems that way. Whether they'll decide to continue with the idea of CRT or not is not for me to decide, it's not for me to know but all I'm concerned with is that we have a competitive bike in the CRT class and that I'm able to do a good job and that's really all that matters.
What do you know about the Gresini team and FTR-Honda you'll be riding?
I'm very lucky to be working with an engineer, Ricardo, who was with us in Pedercini World Supersport team in 2011, he's been with Gresini in 2012 and 2013 so I'll be working with him next year and I'm looking forward to that but otherwise I really don't know too many people from the paddock. I'll be going in wide-eyed.
I only really know the MotoGP championship form what I've seen on TV. I know from speaking to the team that they've got some small improvements coming in the off-season, as I imagine every team will do. But otherwise I'm pretty green, I'm just looking forward to the first test to understand everything and understand it all.
It should help a little bit knowing some of the tracks from Superstock...
Yeah I wish I knew more! I think it's about 50% that I know. I know it's not going to be easy, I know I've got my work cut out for me, I've got an idea of what I'm getting myself into. But I just hope I can find my feet quickly and settle in and then really make some good progress towards the end of the year to come strong.
Are you expecting the Superstock experience to help you at all?
I know I'm definitely inexperienced compared to the other riders on the grid but everyone always is at some stage and you've always got to learn at some stage. It's my turn this year, I'll do the best I can do with it and we'll see how we go.
What's the reception been like back in Australia?
The reception's been incredible for me. I guess maybe it's helped me understand a bit better the difference in size of the championships. I've had a lot of support from Australia and even though I'm not on a MotoGP bike, I'm there and that means something. Basically all I've been doing is explaining to the racing fans in Australia what the difference between a MotoGP and a CRT bike is.
What do you think will the hardest thing? The Bridgestone tyres and the carbon brakes can sometimes be very difficult for new riders to get a feeling with?
There's a lot of things, I think even the new paddock to start with, away from the motorbike stuff. It's a new paddock, it's nearly twice as much racing as I normally do in one year and the races are about twice as long as my normal race. So those things to start with and then as far as the motorbike goes, yeah, the thing that's probably the biggest difference is the tyre and it's probably the thing I'm most excited about getting to use.
Are you changing anything in your training to prepare for a heavier season?
Yeah I've already started looking into some different training methods I can do for a longer race and I like to think I'm a hard worker and I put my time in in training and when I get to the race track I'm ready to go. It's obviously a new experience for me and I'll learn as I go what will work and what wont but I think I should be able to accommodate to the challenges.
Image: copyright Mirco Lazzari, courtesy of motogp.com