Motegi MotoGP: Brake issue slows Casey Stoner
A front brake vibration ruined any hopes Casey Stoner had of continuing his stunning start to the 2009 MotoGP world championship in Japan.
The runaway winner of the season’s opening race in Qatar earlier this month, Stoner could only finish fourth at the Twin Ring Motegi as he struggled to overcome the front brake vibration from the start of an enthralling 24-lap race.
The Aussie dropped back to seventh in the early stages as he struggled to stop his factory Ducati GP9 machine, but once he’d figured out how to ride around the issue, he fought back superbly and claimed fourth place from fading Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso on the penultimate lap.
The 2007 world champion said: “We have had the same issues as everybody else, I suppose, in that we haven’t had time to set the bike up but all in all I think we were capable of at least matching the lap times of the front guys – we just lost too much time at the start. On the warm-up lap I felt I a lot of chatter from the front brakes, they weren’t smooth and I wasn’t confident over the first five or six laps. I really didn’t know what to do, I wasn’t able to brake where I wanted to and I wasn’t confident. Maybe I could have gone faster but I don’t know how safe that would have been. Anyway, I lost a lot of positions at the beginning of the race and I spent too much time battling to get past. When I got closer to the front it was a bit too late, unfortunately. I tried to stay as consistent as I could and when I got closer to Andrea I rode a bit harder because I saw it was possible to pass him. So the race was not completely lost, we didn’t lose that many points and this is a much better start to the season than last year, so we can definitely feel positive going into the next one.”