Motegi MotoGP: Bug ruins Casey Stoner’s pole bid

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Casey Stoner’s hopes of claiming an eighth pole position of the season were ruined by a bug that smashed into his visor on his last flying lap of today’s Japanese GP qualifying session.

The Aussie had to settle for second to claim a ninth successive front row start as he failed to overhaul the impressive Jorge Lorenzo after the bug problem.

Stoner, who had already had grip problems with his second Bridgestone qualifying tyre, said: “The first qualifier felt fine and I was confident for the last two.

"Unfortunately there seemed to be something wrong with the second one and I was spinning out of the first and second corner and I couldn’t get any grip. We had to cancel that lap because I knew I was already behind and when I came onto the straight to start my last fast lap, a bug hit my visor.

"I was trying like crazy to rip the tear off from my visor but I couldn’t do it. After the first three straights I couldn’t get rid of it and couldn’t see my apex points so I lost my confidence and didn’t push hard enough. It's a silly little thing but stuff just doesn't seem to be going for us at the moment.”

Stoner could surrender his MotoGP crown tomorrow with Valentino Rossi a massive 87-points clear in the title race.

Stoner, who has won four races in 2007, said he would just be going out in the 24-lap encounter to enjoy himself.

The 22-year-old said: “The championship has gone. Anyone with two eyes can see that. The last few races haven’t gone our way even though we have had the speed and the pace. I was a bit disappointed in Indy and I was winning the two races before that when I crashed out. We just got to make sure we don’t make any mistakes and we should be in with a chance of winning.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt