Sepang test preview: Ducati cautious on Casey Stoner’s wrist

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Ducati management have admitted they will take no unnecessary risks with former world champion Casey Stoner’s left wrist despite confidence it will hold up to the stress of this week’s three-day test session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

The Aussie hasn’t been on track since the end of October when he topped the timesheets in a rain-hit Valencia test. Since then he has been patiently recovering from major surgery on an old left wrist injury that flared up during last season.

Stoner needed a bone graft on the wrist and so far his lengthy rehabilitation has gone according to plan. Doctors were happy with his recovery when he underwent a thorough assessment on January 12, but this week’s Sepang test will be the crucial test for the 2007 world champion.

Stoner has only had restricted movement in the wrist and has not done anything like the kind of physical work that replicates controlling Ducati’s carbon fibre chassis GP9 machine.

The Sepang circuit is one of the most physically challenging on the calendar with its length and challenging layout. It is also mostly high-speed with fast changes of direction to test Stoner’s wrist.

Factory Ducati team boss Livio Suppo though believes Stoner and his wrist will be capable of gaining some meaningful data on the GP9.

Suppo told MCN: “The doctors did the X-rays last month and that was crucial because then you can understand how the screw and the bone are healing and the doctor was very happy. The process is absolutely okay and now the operation seems to have been a success.”

Suppo though did confirm that Stoner’s fitness would be closely monitored to avoid unnecessary risks in the Far East.

“Lets assume in Sepang he will still have some trouble, so there is no point in risking anything.

“But when he was a rookie in MotoGP he missed a lot of the winter but he was still able to nearly win in only his third race and do the pole position in his second race.

“For him the most important thing is that he will ride in Sepang and then he will feel better for doing that. But Sepang is really demanding and I don’t think he will do a lot of laps.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt