Motegi MotoGP: Casey Stoner cautious on victory chances

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Casey Stoner says he is unsure whether a radical new set-up that helped end his long winless streak in MotoGP earlier this month will propel him to more success in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The Australian won for the first time in 11 months at the new Motorland Aragon track having made drastic geometry changes to his factory Ducati GP10 machine.

The 24-year-old moved his riding position forward by 10mm and shortened the length of the swingarm by 15mm to generate more rear traction and improve turning confidence.

The result at the Motorland Aragon was a convincing victory. But the 2007 world champion reckons he’s not sure whether the new set-up will translate to the Twin Ring Motegi venue.

Stoner, who hadn’t won for 14 races prior to the Motorland Aragon, said: “At Aragon everything went well from the start and every setting change we did worked. It would be great if it was the same here but we will have to see if it works on the circuits that are more or less normal.

“Aragon was a little different, nobody really knew the circuit and this could have played a part in the result, so we’ll have to wait and see how this race pans out and see if we can carry on with that form.

“If not I’d like to keep fighting like that at every race and hopefully it will pay off another time before the end of the season.”

The Twin Ring Motegi race could be dominated by poor weather. The circuit was battered by torrential rain for the majority of today and forecasts are predicting more rain over the weekend.

Asked whether he felt the recent set-up changes would be a benefit in wet conditions, Stoner added: “I have no idea whether it will work or not. We don’t even really know that the settings made a huge difference.

“It might’ve just been that we were that much faster than other people that we weren’t pushing the bike as hard and made things come to us because we got used to the track faster. Now we are at a circuit where everybody’s very comfortable.

“I don’t know if I’m going to have to push that hard again and make the bike overwork and then that’s when I make my mistakes. So we really don’t know if the setting made a difference or not.

“I’m still looking forward to the last part of the season and see if I can get on the podium a few more times and it would be great if I can win another race.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt