Casey Stoner reflects on costly crash

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Casey Stoner’s MotoGP title hopes suffered a crushing blow in Le Mans after the Australian crashed out for the second time in three races.

Stoner's latest mistake came on the third lap of the French MotoGP race while he was lying in a menacing fourth place behind Fiat Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa’s factory Honda.

Stoner lost the front-end of his factory Ducati GP10 and was unable to continue. He now sits in a lowly 13th in the series standings with just 11-points from the opening three rounds.

Stoner is already a massive 59-points behind championship leader and in-form Lorenzo and his latest crash followed his fall out of the lead in the season’s opening race in Qatar back in April.

The 2007 world champion also lost the front during practice in Jerez and he said “I’m really disappointed because the bike has felt great all weekend.

"I pushed that bike really hard all weekend to see what the front end would do. I didn't have the same problem as Jerez and Qatar and it never faltered or wobbled when I pushed it.

"I was going through a corner that doesn't put much pressure on the front tyre. There's not much to do in that corner other than being smooth on the way out and pick it up for the exit.

"So at the most unimportant part of a corner on the whole circuit I lose the front and to be honest I have no idea why.

"I'm hugely disappointed because I knew I had the pace and I think it would have been a nice fight between Jorge and me. I believe I could have run his pace but he made the others look a little silly, so hats off to him.

"He did the job and I had to pick myself up out of the gravel. It is frustrating knowing that, in Qatar I was fast enough, here I was fast enough and in Jerez I could possibly be on the podium.

"Maybe it’s the engine giving us a little bit too much traction but today we scrubbed the tyres in the warm-up but in race they didn't have the same feeling.

"The front I didn't have a problem with but the rear felt very slippery. Maybe we didn't have enough grip in the middle of the turn, but I can't explain it.

"All weekend and the front never moved an inch and then when I wasn't pushing it decided to go away on me."

Stoner did his best to shrug off the bitter frustration of his latest major setback and he added: "It doesn't take time to recover. If you are mature enough then just stay in the present and go to a different track and look to the future.

"I'm not worried about what has happened and if I go to Mugello and don't have any front-end issues then fine.

"Maybe I'll be a little cautious but normally when I back off I crash, so maybe I'll just as hard and as fast as I can to the end.”

Despite his own frustration, Stoner praised the performance of Lorenzo, who rode another immaculate race to increase his series lead to nine-points over Rossi.

"Jorge was the guy on lap times who could be out front. Valentino dropped in there a couple of times but didn't look consistent enough but we knew what we were capable of on the hard tyre.

"So if no one pulled out anything special for the race then it was always going to run the way it did. Dovizioso and Nicky impressed me. They pulled something out of the bag," said Stoner

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt