Casey Stoner needs wrist op to ‘save career’

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Former world champion Casey Stoner reckons he must undergo surgery on his troublesome left wrist injury or risk ending his career.

The Aussie is expected to have an operation, which includes a bone graft, straight after the final race of the season in Valencia later this month.

He first broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist back in 2003, and the problem flared up again last month during the Misano GP.

Speaking ahead of his home race at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend, Stoner said it was essential that he had surgery.

He said: “I’ve got to have the operation. If we don’t it could be career over. In some ways I’m lucky it has flared up again because it shows us what the real problem was and we can get it fixed now rather than finding a bigger problem later on. It is better to get it fixed because with the three months it will take to come good, that means I can be back before testing starts again next year.”

Stoner is hoping that he is relatively untroubled by the injury in Australia.
He plans to race without the wrist being heavily strapped and he said: “It is just weak from changing direction and I’m a little bit worried about this weekend to see how many laps we can do in the race before we start getting tired. If we feel comfortable and its working well then it should be easier.

“I’ve opted to take the strapping off because it was quite restrictive and didn’t let me pick the bike up well enough and I couldn’t grip the handlebars when I was picking the bike up. It is a lot easier for me to ride without the strapping.”

And the 22-year-old is confident he can end his long-running victory drought in 2008 in front of a large home crowd.

The factory Ducati rider hasn’t won a race since he dominated a rain-lashed German GP at the Sachsenring back in mid-July. Coinciding with Stoner’s sudden drop in form, Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi started to dominate and his fifth victory in a row last weekend in Japan secured him the title as he opened up an unassailable 92-point lead.

Stoner won his home race a year ago having already wrapped up the 2007 crown and he said: “Driving back on the Island brought back some really good memories and it is great to be back here even though we know we have got a tough race ahead of us.

“I’m looking forward to getting out on track because the three races before Japan were really difficult for us, with two crashes and a fourth place, so even though I couldn’t win at Motegi second place wasn’t a bad result and it means I can look ahead in a positive manner. I’ve had a few good results here. I was leading in 125s and crashed out and then I got a second in 2004.

“I crashed out of the 250s when I was leading too but I have always been competitive here and I’ve only ever been able to stick it up on the top step of the podium one time. I think this year we have got another good opportunity this weekend even though the races have been very hard lately.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt