Motegi MotoGP: Casey Stoner and Carlos Checa clash in Japan

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MotoGP world championship leader Casey Stoner launched a scathing attack on Spanish veteran Carlos Checa after the pair tangled early in this afternoon’s second free practice session in the Twin Ring Motegi.

Barely three minutes had elapsed when Casey Stoner and Carlos Checa had a frank exchange on the circuit, with the Australian livid that the LCR Honda rider was cruising in the middle of the track.

Stoner was approaching the right-hand corner at the end of the back straight, while Checa was cruising and looking over his shoulder, though he appeared well off the racing line.

When Casey Stoner came alongside he aimed a kick with his right leg at Carlos Checa, and having gone through the right-hander Stoner turned to remonstrate, waving a fist.

Checa retaliated with fist waving before Stoner appeared to flick his middle finger at the veteran Spaniard under one of Motegi’s two tunnels.

“He was on the left side of the track and I was going to go past him on the inside because he was going really slow. I was going flat-out and he started to come straight back across in front of me to go the inside so I had to switch to the outside.

"It was pretty close moment. I didn’t know where to go, right or left, because he was just right in front of me. I’m disappointed because this isn’t the first time he’s done this, “said the 21-year-old.

It is not the first time in 2007 that Checa has upset his rivals for riding slowly during practice and qualifying.

Stoner criticised him earlier in the season and John Hopkins was hit with a fine at his home race in Laguna Seca for aiming a kick at Checa for wrecking one of his flying qualifying laps.

But Checa defended himself and said: “Everyone saw on TV I was going slow, outside the line, so I don’t understand why he was so upset. I just hope Casey can calm down and focus on the championship. This is what he should do.”

Stoner escaped any sanction from Race Direction, though Race Director Paul Butler spoke to him.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt