Sepang MotoGP Reaction: Casey Stoner slowed by troublesome left wrist

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Aussie Casey Stoner reckons the on-going pain caused by his damaged left wrist was the prime reason for his surprise slump to sixth place in a stiflingly hot Sepang MotoGP race.

The former world champion admitted he had contemplated retiring at several stages during the gruelling 21-lap encounter, with soaring temperatures and set-up problems with his factory Ducati exaggerating his wrist problems.

Stoner, who is waiting to undergo surgery on his damaged scaphoid after next weekend’s final race in Valencia, said: “We didn’t’ have the best set-up today but we still had a good enough bike to get at least a top three position. It was just physical today. There’s no pain in my left wrist, but there’s no power in my left arm.

“It’s been very difficult and the fact that my right arm seems to be doing all the work, it’s just I had nothing left. I had no energy left and I got tired very quickly in that race. It was just a matter of staying in there as long as I could, survive as long as I could and seeing what happened at the end of the race.

“But you know my left arm, at the moment, feels fine, but my right arm feels like it’s about to drop off. There’s no power left in it. And it’s quite frustrating that my left hand won’t work. It just refuses to.”

Stoner conceded the extreme conditions, which saw temperatures rocket close to 40 degrees, had increased his problems and he added: “It’s probably the most extreme race you could get. And this track’s very hard. There’s a lot of change of directions in it.

“It would have been a hard race, but it just made it twice as hard by the way my arm was working. I’m sure if my left arm was just a little bit better, helping on the brakes, helping more on the change of direction, I could have done something. But the way it was going I just wanted to stick in there as much as I could. And considering my condition I thought I was still pretty damn close.”

Stoner spent most of his time shadowing either Nicky Hayden or Shinya Nakano, but he was too fearful of making a mistake induced by his physical problems to try a sustained attack.

The 23-year-old added: “I wasn’t even going to try to overtake unless it was basically put in front of me, because I haven’t been able to brake nearly as well since this problem. You know it has been an issue. And it’s why people have been able to overtake me a lot easier. Normally I’m reasonably good on the brakes, but we just haven’t been able to hold anybody off lately.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt