US MotoGP: ‘I was a one-lap wonder’ admits Casey Stoner

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Casey Stoner fears he doesn’t have the race pace to fight MotoGP world championship rival Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca later today.

The Australian qualified his Repsol Honda RC212V machine in second place for the 32-lap clash in California and was only 0.072s away from snatching pole position off Lorenzo.

But Stoner, who holds a 15-point lead over the Spaniard heading into the 10th round of 2011, said: “This afternoon I was just a one lap wonder. We’ve been struggling a little bit all weekend, especially to match their times consistently. We’re consistently two-tenths off the pace, even maybe a little bit more this afternoon. The bike that we rolled out on Friday morning wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t fantastic.

“It seems to be more or less the best one that we had all weekend. So we’ve tried to go in a lot of different directions to get a little bit more front feel and get a little bit more drive out of the corners, but we just can’t seem to find it. We can’t get the bike feeling comfortable enough to get hit the same points lap after lap. It looks like at the moment our bike is working a little bit better with the softer tyres and this is a problem we’re having this weekend with the harder compound.

“I’ve just not been able to get the grip but we’ve tried a lot of different things and maybe it looks worse in the afternoon but it is because we are trying so many different settings and trying to make the bike work a bit better. We just haven’t been quite as competitive in the afternoon but not for any reason other than the set-up on the harder tyres.”

Stoner still thinks he could have taken a seventh pole position in ten races and he added: “When we went onto the first soft tyre unfortunately riders got in my way and my lap got completely destroyed. Then unfortunately a rider crashed so I had to throw that tyre away. Then we came in and got on the second tyre that we just had to go for it. We had a good enough lap for pole.

“Jorge was consistently being able to do 21, 22s but I went into a corner and ran a little bit wide and didn’t make a very good exit, so I’m a little bit disappointed with that. But honestly to be on the front row after a session like that I’m very happy.  It’s important for me to get a good start to get away with him (Lorenzo) and see what happens, but we still have a lot of work to do before the race.”


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt