Brno MotoGP: Illness fails to slow Casey Stoner

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Illness failed to prevent reigning world champion Casey Stoner from topping the timesheets at the end of the first day of free practice in Brno.

The Aussie, who finished second behind Valentino Rossi this morning, ended the day quickest with an impressive best lap time of 1.57.231.

But Stoner, who goes into Sunday’s 22-lap race trying to slash Rossi’s 25-point series lead, revealed he was riding ill as the season resumed after four week summer break.

The illness forced Stoner to cancel his usual 4pm media debrief but he said: “Unfortunately I've not been feeling well for a few days and I felt very weak today - I even felt sapped of energy just putting my gloves on.

"I can deal with a bit of tiredness but this afternoon I could only ride a handful of laps before I started to feel cramps in my stomach. That doesn't help my crew because I've not been able to put many consecutive laps together and this morning wasn't too good for us, we struggled to find the right set-up for this new surface.

"To look at you'd think it would be smooth on the tyres but it's actually quite aggressive, particularly on the front. This afternoon we went with a harder compound front tyre - similar to what we used at Laguna and Sachsenring, which is about the hardest we've got - and we had to work on the geometry to get the most effective load on the front tyre.

"The guys improved the bike every time I came in so it was frustrating not to be able to put it all together with a long run. We still have a lot of work to do so hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and the weather holds out for us."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt