Catalunya MotoGP: Casey Stoner renews attack on slower riders

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Casey Stoner has launched another scathing attack on his MotoGP rivals after this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Catalunya circuit in Spain.

The Australian’s frustration boiled over again today after he was forced to abort fast laps because other riders were on the racing line but cruising at a slow pace.

Stoner was angered yesterday in opening free practice when he was badly baulked by Italian veteran Loris Capirossi.

And he called for riders who deliberately slow down on the racing line to face punishment in the future after several incidents in this afternoon’s qualifying.

The 24-year-old, who qualified second on the grid for his best starting position since the opening round in Qatar, said “There’s people putting their hands up showing they realise you’re there and they don’t move. They stay right on the racing line and it seems to be happening quite a lot.  

"A lot of people have problems and some people that cause the problems give the finger to other people. There comes a time when this class needs to grow up a little bit and people need to start doing the lap times by themselves more often. I can understand people wanting to get a tow but they should calm down, stay behind and do it rather than getting in the way.

"There are just so many riders out there waiting for a tow. It's like being back on a 125 and it's starting to get ridiculous. People need to stop doing that and instead go out and do things for themselves.

"They don't just follow you and slot in behind either. They make sure they stuff you up on the next lap too. And I really wasn't able to do the lap I thought I could."

Stoner said he spoke to former factory Ducati team-mate Capirossi last night as both sit on the Safety Commission that convenes every Friday at every race,
What had been the outcome?

“One of the riders I had a problem with yesterday was Loris. He puts his hand up and acknowledges you’re behind him but doesn’t get off the line. He came in joking about it last night saying he was on the kerb and he needed extra track on the inside to get out of the way.

"But there is enough evidence on TV of people getting in the way. Something needs to be done about it. People have tried in the past to just give them a little threat but something actually needs to be done like a small penalty. Maybe they should lose a grid position if it’s purposely done and if you see a rider and still don’t move out of the way.”

Stoner at least salvaged second place with a brilliant late attack as he struggled to stay in the top six for much of today’s session.

Run in sweltering conditions, Stoner said: “I’m pretty happy with the bike and I thought with another soft tyre I could have gone faster. But we only had time to have one tyre in and do the lap time with that. We tried a few different solutions with the bike today.

"We’ve been pretty close to where we want to be. We just need to find a few small steps to get the bike to where we need it. We tried a few different things this afternoon, none of which really worked. We had to go back to the other setting and we knew it would work well. Jorge has been running well all weekend and he’ll be hard to stop.”

Stoner though was again delighted to report that he wasn’t plagued by arm pump, a condition that blunted his challenge at the last two races in Silverstone and Assen.
He added: “The first session on Friday, ten minutes into it I started to feel it build up again and I thought I was going to get arm pump but it has been non-existent for the weekend.

"I hope tomorrow everything we have done means it will be fine. Once in the race the pressure is a little different and you ride a little different. You just keep the arms relaxed and we should be okay to the end.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt