Casey Stoner frustrated as injury wrecks title hopes

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Casey Stoner couldn’t hide his disappointment and frustration in Brno today after the Australian conceded his 2012 MotoGP world title hopes have been ended by the right ankle injury he suffered in a high speed qualifying crash at Indianapolis last weekend.

The Repsol Honda rider will fly back to Australia tonight for surgery on the ankle he damaged when he crashed his factory RC213V five days ago at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Stoner defied medical advice to keep his title hopes alive with a heroic ride to fourth place in Indianapolis on Sunday.

But detailed analysis of x-rays and scans by his personal doctors in Australia saw them advise Stoner to withdraw from the Brno race and return to Australia immediately for surgery.

Stoner already trails Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo by 39-points and with suggestions in the Brno paddock that he might be sidelined until the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi in mid-October, his hopes of retiring at the end of the season as world champion have vanished.

That was tough to take for the double MotoGP world champion, who has won four races in 2012.

He told a packed press conference in the Czech Republic this afternoon: “I’m disappointed like you would expect. It makes you feel like not even starting the season. When you go this far in, and things haven't gone perfectly this season, and when you put this much effort in and this late in when we are coming to circuits that suit me better, then to have this sort of disappointment is extremely frustrating, especially in my last year. It's the way racing goes and you shouldn’t expect anything different but it is a big hit to the heart."

The damage to Stoner’s right ankle is extensive and he said his doctors were adamant that surgery was his only option.

He added: “The plan is to get back to Australia as soon as possible because I have to wait for the inflammation to go down after travelling before the surgery. Everything is lined up for early next week so if the inflammation is down I will get surgery and be on the road to recovery and see how quick I can be back. It is ligament, cartilage, chipped bone and fractures. I've done about as much damage as I can do.  My doctor is very honest and normally he has no problem with getting me back out there and riding but as soon as he read the report from the US he advised that I didn't ride in Indy and then we got the discs to him to view and every opinion has come back the same. That’s to get off this foot as soon as possible because if I injured it again it could be a permanent injury and cause a lot of issues.”

Stoner said it was too early to get an understanding of when he will be fit enough to return to action but he wanted to be in action ahead of his final appearance on home soil at Phillip Island on October 28.

He said: “My plan is to come back a race or two before Phillip Island but until I have the surgery I can't say exactly when I can return.  It could be a lot sooner than expected or a lot a later.  I have a time line in my head but it may not agree with the doctors or with what happens."

Stoner said his injury blow would not see him re-consider plans to retire at the end of the season and he added: "I'm not in this championship to wait to finish it perfectly on a big fairytale. If things had been better and we hadn't had all the dramas we had this year with chatter maybe things would have still ended up the same.  I'm not going to keep going next year, I could have a similar issue, be in a really good position and something could go wrong.  I'm not going to wait for the fairytale ending. This is a hard sport and it is difficult to stay at the front at the best of times, so I will bow out with the best results I can."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt