MotoGP Jerez test: Casey Stoner escapes injury in big crash

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Casey Stoner started his preparations for 2008 in the same vein he finished a dominant 2007 as he topped the timesheets despite a massive crash in Jerez today.

The Aussie, who won 10 races last season, got his first chance to assess Ducati’s new 2008 machine, and he was immediately on the pace in a lightning start to the three-day test. 

Casey Stoner needed just three laps to post a 1.44.442, which was marginally faster than his best race lap in Jerez when he finished fifth in the Spanish MotoGP last March.

On only his second exit from the pits he logged a 1.40.932, which was just slower than Valentino Rossi’s best lap in the race, and he finished with a best time of 1.40.221 set on his 29th lap of a 35-lap stint.

That was 0.134sec clear of Honda rival Dani Pedrosa, who was back in action today after skipping last week’s Sepang test in Malaysia.

Casey Stoner’s best lap of 1.40.221 came though just a lap before he walked away unhurt in a massive crash at the Alex Criville corner – Turn 11.

Stoner lost the front end of his new Ducati at nearly 120mph. He escaped injury but his GP8 was completely destroyed.

Prior to the crash, Casey Stoner had completed two laps in the 1.40.2 bracket and sources said he was 0.3sec up on his best time on the lap he crashed out.

Marlboro Ducati team boss Livio Suppo said: “It was a big crash, but this can happen when you are pushing. He’d done his best lap on the previous lap and you can’t be fast without taking any risks.”

Livio Suppo told MCN Casey Stoner was happy with his first impression of the new Ducati, which on the outside appears identical to the bike that he dominated last season’s championship on.

“He liked the set-up of the new bike and it’s quite positive. It’s only early but he seemed happy with the direction. Honestly the bike isn’t that much different to this year’s,” said Suppo.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt