Dutch MotoGP reaction: Casey Stoner settles for 'lucky second in Assen
Casey Stoner settled for second place in today’s Dutch MotoGP race at Assen as he was powerless to stop Valentino Rossi from claiming a stunning victory.
The MotoGP world championship leader though admitted he was lucky to finish a gripping 26-lap encounter after running out of fuel on the slowing down lap.
“I think compared to the rest of the weekend I was sliding and spinning a lot more during the race and used a lot more fuel than what we expected. It managed to conk out so I was pretty lucky to finish the race but I’ll use that as a positive and not a negative.”
The factory Ducati rider led for 23 of the 26 lap race but once main title rival Valentino Rossi passed him at the final chicane, Stoner couldn’t retaliate as braking problems caused by a strong and unpredictable wind blunted his victory hopes.
Casey Stoner had made a brilliant start from the front row of the grid and at the end of the first lap led by a massive 1.256s from John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki).
It looked ominous for his rivals as he stretched that advantage to 1.664s on lap two. After eight laps he was 3.665s clear of Valentino Rossi, who was cutting his way through the field and by that point had climbed from 11th on the grid to third.
Casey Stoner managed to keep Valentino Rossi at bay until four laps from home and once the Italian got by he comfortably pulled away from the 21-year-old.
Stoner was still delighted with his performance as he shrugged off a crash at the final chicane this morning.
“I got an awesome start again and went out at the front and felt quite comfortable on the bike. I was doing similar times to practice, not quite as fast but the wind was worse today and I was getting pushed quite a bit in a few of the fast corners.
“I lost confidence a little bit and halfway through the race had a couple of front-end losses and wasn’t willing to push the bike on the braking points. I kept a constant pace but I just don’t think I could have gone a lot faster.
“But the season so far I can’t really complain with this result. I only lost five points in the world championship and I’ve only been off the podium two times this year. I saw Valentino catching up after the first few laps.
“I saw him battling with a few people on the big TV screens and then when I saw he got into second he caught me quite dramatically and from there I understood he had a better package on the day. I tried to improve the pace but he was able to pass and from that point I couldn’t keep the same pace," said Stoner.