Jerez MotoGP: Casey Stoner undaunted by late crash

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Casey Stoner shrugged off yet another front-end crash on his factory Ducati GP10 machine in Jerez today after the Australian topped the opening practice timesheets.

Stoner denied his confidence was being dented after he suffered an identical crash in Spain today to the one that robbed him of hopes of a fourth straight victory in Qatar earlier this month. 

The 24-year-old, who has only claimed one rostrum finish in Jerez, said: “I went into that corner with a little bit less front brake than the lap before and I had a similar problem to Qatar, so this is good for us to understand now.”

The crash was the only blip on an otherwise brilliant start for Stoner on the improved factory Ducati.

His best time of 1.39.731 clocked on only his fourth lap was never bettered during the session and only five other riders lapped inside of a second of the 2007 world champion. 

Stoner credited his impressive display to Ducati’s new Big Bang engine, which has tamed the Desmosedici’s ferocious power delivery and helped make the GP10 less physical to ride than previous versions.

Stoner added: “This bike and engine has impressed me today. The last three years I’ve tried really hard to get a good result here. The first two were a disaster and last year I got tired at the end of the race and we didn’t quite have the pace.

“This year with the way the bike has felt at all the tests and the first race I knew we were coming here with a much better opportunity than in the past and from the first or second lap the bike felt that much smoother out of the corners. It is that much easier to ride this track with the engine.  I have never ridden this track with as much ease as I have today. Normally I don’t enjoy this track and today it has opened my eyes a little bit to the nature of it because it was that much easier to ride.”

Stoner also suggested that he still had plenty in reserve and said: “We can go a lot faster. The first exit today the bike felt good but I had a couple of problems. One was under brakes and then with grip in the rear it got worse and worse with more laps. That early time I did should have been improved by myself and maybe with the first setting I could have done it because in those first laps I wasn’t pushing and made a couple of mistakes.

“I didn’t make the best braking points. I was kind of shocked by that lap time I pulled out on this track with our bike. This is very strange.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt