Estoril MotoGP: Casey Stoner looking forward to return

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Casey Stoner has spoken of his excitement at the prospect of returning to MotoGP action in this weekend’s Portuguese GP in Estoril.

As was first reported by MCN yesterday (Monday), the Aussie will be back on board his factory Ducati GP9 machine this weekend after missing the last three races.

The 2007 world champion missed Brno, Indianapolis and Misano to try and get to the bottom of a fatigue issue that severely hindered the 23-year-old from the Catalunya race onwards.

Stoner has been recuperating in Australia while undergoing a series of medical examinations to ensure he was fit and ready for a planned return in Estoril this weekend.

Ducati has confirmed Stoner will be back after he arrived in Europe yesterday before heading onto Portugal for round 14 of the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

Stoner said: “I’m definitely looking forward to the race weekend. Having three races off is the biggest period away from racing in my life. It was very difficult to accept the advice of the doctors to stop racing.

“In the past I have raced even when injured, like in the last few races of the 2008 season when my wrist was broken, but this time it was really not possible and of course I felt very sorry for the team.

“Now I’m looking forward to getting back together with the team and everyone and I hope I’ll be able to be more competitive than I was in the past, but we will have to wait and see.

During two months away from racing under the supervision of an expert medical team in his homeland (Dr. Neil Halpin, Sport Physician, Dr Jeremy Coleman, Consultant Physician, Dr Harry Grunstein, Endocrinologist and Professor Jonathan Silberberg, Cardiologist), who have remained in touch with Prof.

Fabio Catani (Specialist in Pathology and Locomotive System at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna and Ducati’s doctor for several years) and Dr Claudio Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile, Stoner has undergone a series of exams and special tests.

The results of the tests have excluded pathological anomalies of cardiovascular, respiratory or neurological origins. The exams and inspections also failed to show up any kind of virus or infection.

However, the medical report made by Prof. Silderberg and Dr Coleman did reveal low blood pressure levels and a lack of sodium, the two factors that the doctors believe were the main cause of the physical problems that interrupted the season for the Ducati rider.

The doctors all agree that overtraining was the most common factor that showed up during the tests and that the after-effects of injuries and surgeries over the last few years were the cause of the physical weakness and exhaustion that Stoner began to suffer a few months ago.

The doctors also unanimously confirmed that their suggestion to stop Casey from racing at the end of July was absolutely necessary in order to avoid aggravating his physical debilitation.

Following the final medical examination that he underwent last week before leaving Australia, the doctors confirmed that whilst he was still not completely recovered, he is in better physical shape than he was in July and his weight is back up to 60kg, which is close to his ideal weight.

Ducati also confirmed that Stoner would continue to under constant medical supervision throughout this weekend, with a new sodium-rich diet aimed at raising his blood pressure and muscular functionality.

Stoner added: “The doctors have put me on some salt tablets to increase my sodium levels but we will have to see if it helps. We will understand more during the weekend.

“Of course it’s going to be difficult: at first we won’t know if it will work because I’ve been off the bike so long that in any case my muscles will take some time to get race fit again.

“But, as I said, I’m looking forward to getting back and to starting work on the bike, looking towards the future.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt