Aragon MotoGP: New set-up boost for Casey Stoner

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Aussie Casey Stoner thanked a radical new set-up for helping him storm to his first pole position since the opening race of the season at the Motorland Aragon track today.

A best lap of 1.48.942 was comfortably faster than Jorge Lorenzo by 0.309s as Stoner topped qualifying for the first time since the Qatar round in April.

Stoner credited much of his fast pace to a new set-up he’s using on his factory Ducati GP10 machine this weekend.

He said: “The reason we’re changing the set-up this week is because the last couple of races I’ve been looking at my riding position and the fact that I can’t put as much weight over the front of the bike anymore. It is because I have not had so much movement in my wrist since the operation (in 2008).

“We’ve basically moved my body position further forward but without sacrificing rear grip. We’ve moved the steering position and shortened the swingarm to get more grip but at the same time putting me over the front of the bike more without me having to physically do it. We’ve tried that this weekend and it seems to work so we’ll see how it goes in the race and whether it works at other tracks.”

The 24-year-old said today’s performance was the result of recent hard work by Ducati and he said he hoped it would boost his chances of ending his long victory drought before he leaves for Honda at the end of the season.

The 2007 world champion said: “We’ve been working hard all year. This isn’t all of a sudden we decided to get ourselves in gear and do some extra. We’ve been doing everything we can all season. We don’t want to be away from the top step of any session and the whole team’s been doing a fantastic job.

“We’ve been missing something so it’s nice this weekend. For me it’s always a nice new challenge on a new circuit and it’s better than doing a million laps around other tracks that we already know and it’s really nice when we get to visit new places. And today we’ve been trying something a little bit different.

“We’ve been taking some risks the last few races trying a lot of different set-ups and today we tried something different again and it seemed to have paid off. We definitely gained a few tenths and hopefully it’s the difference we’ve been missing.

“I can’t really talk about Misano because we were missing way too much, but in past races before that we’ve not been missing a lot and it would be nice to think we’ve come up with something to maybe challenge a little bit more.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt