Motegi MotoGP Reaction: Casey Stoner bemoans physical condition
Casey Stoner blamed a lack of fitness for his failure to stop Valentino Rossi celebrating his sixth premier class world title with a victory at the Twin Ring Motegi today.
Rossi ended Stoner’s reign as MotoGP world champion with a brilliant Japanese GP performance, though the factory Ducati rider said his lack of physical strength had caused him problems.
Stoner hasn’t completed a full race distance since the Laguna Seca GP in late July after he crashed out of the lead early on in Brno and Misano. The storm-lashed Indianapolis GP was red-flagged early and Stoner has also been unable to train recently having encountered problems with an old left wrist injury.
He did at least put up a brave fight as he leds from lap six to 14, but once Rossi had moved by he was powerless to prevent the Italian romping away to his eighth world title.
Stoner said: "At the beginning of the race everything felt good although I made a couple of mistakes on a cold tyre. We were running quite a hard compound today so we needed a few laps to get it warmed up. Once we did that the lap times were good and I felt happy with my pace.
"Unfortunately in the second half of the race I started to get tired in the changes of direction and I was having to close the gap coming out of the corners to get into the next one - simply because I didn't have the strength to flick the bike over with the throttle open. The lap times dropped off and when Valentino came past I couldn't keep up.
"He's had an amazing season - he only made one mistake at Assen and the rest of the time he's been on the podium, winning races. He's a worthy champion - eight world titles show that - and I want to congratulate him for that. I'm just disappointed that we made two mistakes in the mid-point of the season that allowed him to open up such a big advantage.
"Anyway, after the recent misfortune we've had it was important to come back here with a strong performance and some solid points. Now we can go to Australia with confidence and look to finish the season strongly."