Casey Stoner said he was more worried about a lack of rear grip than a small crash that left him in fourth place at the end of first practice for this weekend’s Malaysian MotoGP race.
Stoner had just elevated himself to the top of the timesheets at a baking hot Sepang when he lost the front-end of his factory Ducati GP10 at turn four.
The Aussie, who has been in fantastic form recently to dominate the Motorland Aragon and Twin Ring Motegi races, ended with a best time of 2.03.160 that put him 0.262s behind Jorge Lorenzo in third.
The 2007 world champion, who is chasing a second successive victory at the long and technical Sepang track on Sunday, said track conditions had not been conducive to fast lap times.
Stoner, who has now won 22 premier class victories, said: “The track is not in good condition. It is slippery and it is getting bumpy. Our biggest issue was the rear grip today and normally we have a bigger issue than most people. Normally we have a very stable bike under brakes but we struggled with grip today and we also struggled on the brakes a little. The best thing we can do is get the weight over the rear and try and get the rear working and things should start to fall into place. But for sure the track is not in good condition and most people will be struggling or grip to some degree. Mainly we had the soft tyres on at the beginning and the rear grip seemed to be a little better from the soft and then we went immediately to the hard tyres. It looked like we were struggling but the temperature was getting up and nobody really went a lot faster than early on.”
Stoner said he had not yet made a decision on which rear tyre to run with track temperatures this afternoon hitting 54 degrees.
He added: “The softer tyre here is not so soft and the hard tyre is extremely hard and the problem was we looked at the left side of the hard tyre after 13 laps and it looks like new. There is no wear or scrubbing on the left side, so we need to get the rear working a lot more."
Stoner was able to walk away unscathed from the slow speed spill and turn four and he explained what had happened.
“I went into the corner and the rear came right round on me and as I put my weight back to try and get it hooking up the front pushed away. So as I was falling off the inside of the bike it wanted to pick up again, so I had to pull down otherwise it was going to high-side me. It was little bit of a funny crash but it came mainly from the rear and the only thing we can understand is that maybe we had too much engine braking and it was trying to pull it around too far."