Casey Stoner was relieved to end opening practice for the Catalunya MotoGP today without a return of the arm pump issues that dogged him at Silverstone and Assen last month.
The 2007 world champion ended practice with the second fastest time, the Aussie clocking a best time of 1.43.412 to finish less than two-tenths behind Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
The 24-year-old, who has yet to win a race in 2010, tried new handlebar and lever positions today in a bid to alleviate some of the arm pump issues that hindered him in the last two races.
Slow out of the gate as he adapted to the new set-up, Stoner said: “We completely changed the handlebar position and brake lever position so I just had to get myself accustomed to the set-up.
"It took me a few laps to get into it and because it bought my body further forward the gearshifter was then too high so we had to lower that. We had to adjust a few things but after that it worked quite well.
"For me the arms felt perfect and the first 15 and 20 minutes I started feeling – not arm pump – but something. By the end I felt nothing so hopefully with the position we found something.”
Stoner revealed he’s been undergoing acupuncture treatment for his arm pump and added: “I know that from Silverstone to Assen we just didn’t have time to recover.
"From Assen to here it has had time to heal a lot more than in the past. I’ve actually done some acupuncture to see if that can release it.
"I don’t know what it is, and it doesn’t feel like a muscle, but I’ve got one part of my right arm that is so stiff and it doesn’t want to relax.
"It’s just in my right arm and if we can fix that issue we’ll have no problems. But hopefully we’ve done everything correctly and it should workout. The bike was working that much easier and maybe easier to ride without using the same effort.
"I was struggling under brakes the whole session but we got the bike to turn better than ever in the last sector of this track.
"Normally it’s the worst but today it was the best. The last exit we got the bike turning a lot better and I’m quite happy with the way it’s going at the moment.”
Stoner said he was struggling to get to the bottom of the braking issue at the end of a session run in gruelling conditions that saw temperatures hit a scorching 37 degrees.
He added: “I couldn’t really tell you at the moment what the problem is. We have gone up and down with the front tyre pressure and tried a couple of other things, but with the bike turning well we don’t want to sacrifice too much.
"We need to try some little steps with either spring or pre-load to get it accepting the force a bit more into the turn without ruining the mid-turn corner speed.”