Catalunya MotoGP: Casey Stoner rues early braking mistake

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Casey Stoner was left to rue an early braking mistake as his winless run in MotoGP continued in Catalunya.

The Aussie had to settle for third place as his victory hopes were dashed by a mistake at the first corner on lap six.

The 24-year-old looked like mounting a serious threat to claim his first win since the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. 

But his hopes were ended as he slipstreamed Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo down the long start/finish straight on lap six.

Stoner misjudged the extra speed he’d gained on his factory Ducati GP10 and missed his braking marker.

The 2007 world champion ran off and dropped back to fifth place.

He moved into fourth by Randy de Puniet on lap nine and once Dovizioso crashed out of second on lap 15, he was again left in a dogfight with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa for second place.

Stoner was unable to get close to making an overtake on the Spaniard and having settled for his second successive third spot, he said: “I felt quite comfortable in the race and nobody was getting away. We were pulling the advantage on the field behind us, so I was just happy staying where I was.

"Unfortunately I got a slipstream off both Jorge and Andrea and it was just impossible to pull it up. I just didn’t take into account how much faster I was going into that turn and it was better to avoid them and go on the outside, rather than go on the inside and lose the front.

"From that point I just tried to recover basically to where I wanted to be. And still we didn’t lose too much time. I thought we might have been able to pull it back because we could run a little bit higher pace, and unfortunately I just wasn’t able to make the passes that I needed to.

"I was trying in every area of the track that I could. The bike was working quite well, but I just couldn’t get past anyone and I just 1ost time through that. We managed to catch up to Dani and I thought I’d be able to overtake him within a few laps. But unfortunately Dani was just picture perfect, he didn’t make any mistakes.

"He was getting good exits and there was no way I could be close enough to outbrake him into the corners with everybody struggling a little bit with the front end. Dani though just rode a really good race and there was no way I could get past.

"A few times I closed the front when we could’ve had a good opportunity to overtake Dani. So with a bit more confidence in the front, we would’ve had a lot more opportunities to outbrake him.

"I guess I need a bit more traction to get a better exit as well. Unless he made a mistake then for me to get close enough was impossible.”

Despite not winning again and another mistake costing him dearly, Stoner believes he is getting closer to contending for his opening win of the 2010 world championship.

He added: “I know we’re fast enough to get a lot more podiums than we have so far this year but things just haven’t worked out. I’ve made mistakes and things have not gone our way. So we just have to keep fighting and see what happens.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt