China MotoGP reaction: Casey Stoner frustrated despite third

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Reigning MotoGP world champion could not hide his frustration despite putting his recent poor run of results behind him with third place in today’s Shanghai MotoGP.

The Aussie was far from happy as he was comprehensively beaten by Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi, with Italian Rossi finishing a massive 16 seconds ahead of the factory Ducati rider.

Stoner briefly led at the first corner before he slipped down to fourth as fast starting duo Rossi and Pedrosa moved by on lap two.

The 22-year-old, who had not scored podiums in Jerez and Estoril, was promoted back into third when pole-setter Edwards blundered under hard braking for the tight right-hand hairpin at the end of the back straight.

Stoner though had no answer to Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa and he was somewhat disappointed not to have been closer to the front.

“If we’d raced with the setting we had yesterday afternoon in qualifying, I think we would have been much closer. I still don’t think maybe we could’ve battled for the victory or second, but we would’ve been much closer.

“And you know today, from the first lap pretty much I was really struggling to stay in there and I was just doing everything I could to try and stay as close as possible. From that it became a very lonely race.

“When Colin (Edwards) went off the track for a little bit, I got a bit of a gap and from there we just tried to keep my head down and pull a gap from the guys behind. But we just didn’t have the pace to catch Valentino and Dani, because they were running a very impressive pace, but I think we still should have been a lot closer.

“We didn’t even arrive at our practice times, and pretty much everybody else beat their times. So I don’t really know what went wrong today, but I’ll be looking forward to the next one.”

Casey Stoner blamed his choice of a soft rear Bridgestone tyre for his problems and he added: “We knew from the sighting lap that the track was dry. It wasn’t a tyre selection issue, so you know we ended up going for the softer one, which really wasn’t the right choice.

“After a few laps it went down very quickly and we needed a harder tyre. So it was a little bit disappointing.

“We knew we’d get a reasonably decent result after yesterday’s qualifying, but then when it rained this morning we thought, you know, we can maybe push the victory. But as it dried out just in time for our race, things didn’t go our way today, but a podium finish is good enough.”

Stoner also admitted he was much further adrift in the title race than he expected to be as he sits fourth in the standings, 25-points behind series leader Dani Pedrosa.
“We’re a lot further away than I expected to be, but the last two races before this one just didn’t go our way. Nothing seemed to go right. There were just a lot of issues.

“When we thought we’d figured something out for the race, something else would take a hold of the decision of how the race was going to go. You know, it’s been a tough year so far, but we’ve got some tracks that we’ve done quite well at in the past and hopefully we’ll just see how those go. “

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt