2011 Misano MotoGP Sunday Round Up: On The Hammer, Lost Sleep, And Idiotic Moves

It was a good weekend for MotoGP at Misano. We had two-and-a-half great races, two championships were opened up again and one took a step closer to the inevitable conclusion it has been moving towards almost since the start of the season. The weather was good - with just a sprinkling of raindrops to keep everyone honest - the crowds were up - on last year at least - and if the home crowd didn't exactly get what they came to see (a Rossi victory), at least they went home with hope in their hearts after a pretty strong race by the Italian, all things considered.

That they were less than happy with Jorge Lorenzo's victory - the third Spanish victory of the day, and the second time the Spaniards had cleaned up at an Italian Grand Prix, a particular thorn in the side of Italian MotoGP fans - as was witnessed by the booing during the podium ceremony, which Lorenzo responded to by cupping his hand to his ear as if he couldn't hear. Lorenzo said afterwards he found it disappointing that fans responded like that, acting more like soccer fans than racing fans, saying that he was sure that Valentino Rossi would disapprove of such behavior. Rossi agreed - up to a point - but after making all the expected noises, he added "This is Italy!" and said that his advice to Lorenzo was not to take any notice of it.

Whatever the reaction of the crowds, nobody could dispute the emphatic nature of Lorenzo's victory. The Spaniard took off like a scalded cat at the start, diving into the lead at Turn 1 very aggressively and pushing hard from the very first lap. Though Casey Stoner tailed him for the first 10 laps, not giving the Yamaha man any quarter, once the fatigue set in - Stoner has been suffering sleep deprivation since arriving back from Indianapolis, a mixture of a hard race in tough conditions at Indy, jetlag and his neck injury preventing him from cycling, which is how he usually tires himself out enough to sleep - Lorenzo took off, upping the pace to pull a gap, forcing the Australian to capitulate.

Lorenzo did not let up all the way to the end of the race, winning in deeply convincing style. "The hammer is back," Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis commented after the race, alluding to the two sides to Lorenzo riding, the hammer being Lorenzo's ability to push hard when he has to, the butter being the silky smoothness that characterizes Lorenzo's riding style. Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said that his performance had been a joy to watch, dancing over the machine and the track, in perfect harmony with the bike. It was indeed a virtuoso performance.

It also marked a turning point for the Spaniard. Lorenzo's team had reverted to the setup used with great success at Mugello, after losing their way over the past two races. The change had given Lorenzo confidence in the front end of the bike again, and that had allowed him to push to the limit of the bike and his ability. The victory also cut Lorenzo's deficit to Stoner in the championship to 35 points, a much more achievable tally than the 44 points he had coming into the Misano round. Though 35 points from 5 races is a big ask, and will require getting some help from either another rider or from Stoner himself (or both, as Rossi's torpedoing of the Repsol Honda demonstrated at Jerez) it is an entirely achievable total. It will require Lorenzo to win at tracks like Motegi, which should favor the Honda, and Phillip Island, which Stoner has dominated at for the past four years, or at least limit the damage there and dominate at tracks like Sepang where the Yamaha has been traditionally strong. Given that Misano was done on the old, less powerful spec motor, Lorenzo is in with a fighting chance.

Stoner was confident that Misano was just an anomaly. His team had given him a great bike, he said, and he'd been up to speed straight away, which had given him hope, but the lack of sleep - a few hours a night - had proved too much. Once he'd lost touch with Lorenzo, he tried to set a pace that would allow him to stay ahead of Dani Pedrosa. That, too, proved too much, and Stoner was passed by his Repsol Honda teammate on lap 23. From then on, Stoner just concentrated on finishing, and taking what points he could. Asked if he thought team orders would have been better for his championship, Stoner reiterated his opposition to them, though he added what could be an important qualification. If it was him, Stoner explained, and he could help a teammate that he had a good personal relationship with and he liked as a person, then he might try to help that person win the championship. Stoner did not expand on whether this situation applied to himself and Pedrosa.

Amidst all the excitement, Dani Pedrosa scored another podium, and a second-place finish at Misano. But the result - an outstanding one for sure - was as anonymous as most of his weekend had been. Pedrosa did not really have the pace to match the leaders, an overnight modification to the forks not having worked out as he hoped, meaning the front was threatening to fold for the first part of the race, only getting better as the fuel burnt off. But consistency and persistence paid off, Pedrosa consolidating his position in the championship, and closing in on Andrea Dovizioso for 3rd.

Dovizioso himself was proving a healthy dose of entertainment in the scrap over 4th. The third wheel on the Repsol Honda wagon found himself battling with archrival Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies. Spies had gotten off to a poor start once again, but soon joined the pair of Italians battling over 4th. The fight went all the way to the line, positions swapping several times in the final laps, and the very last lap turning intense, Spies, Dovizioso and Simoncelli entering the Quercia corner three-abreast. Spies got in hottest, forcing Dovizioso a little wide and giving Simoncelli the breathing space he needed to secure 4th, much to the chagrin of Dovizioso. This was the first time that Simoncelli had beaten Dovizioso this year, and caught in the middle of contract negotiations - with Honda mainly, though Dovi has also been linked to both the Tech 3 Yamaha ride and the second Mapfre Aspar Ducati (the team is due to expand to two bikes for 2012) - seeing this run come to an end will have weakened his position with Honda more than he would have wanted. Contracts will have to be signed soon, and Dovizioso will be keen not to have it happen again.

The man the crowd had come to see actually put in a good show in the race, and was pleased with the results afterwards. The team had made a big change to the front of the bike - changing "the position of the front tire," Rossi told the press - and it had improved the feeling at the front that Rossi had been struggling with. If they had had this setting on Saturday, Rossi opined, he could have started from a row further forward; as it was, Rossi could fight with Dovizioso and Simoncelli for the first 18 laps, before the rear started to slide too much and he had to give up.

Rossi's biggest problem was a lack of testing, however, which his crew chief Jerry Burgess had put succinctly to a group of journalists at breakfast. "In the past, we could find something overnight," Burgess said. "At least we knew the rabbit was in there somewhere." Rossi and his crew have yet to locate the Ducati's rabbit, believing that it is still stuck somewhere in CAD drawings on Filippo Preziosi's computer. But with the limited testing allowed under the MotoGP regulations, it is hard to make any progress. The argument that limiting testing helped cut costs did not hold any water for Rossi. "We have test riders running around three to four seconds off the pace, while official riders are being paid to sit at home," Rossi said.

Depending on your point of view, Nicky Hayden either had an excellent or a terrible race at Misano. Going by his recent results at the circuit - he has never completed a full lap of the circuit, having missed one year and been knocked off in the first corner the other two - completing two full laps before crashing out at Turn 15 is something of an achievement. But Nicky Hayden was not in the mood to see it that way, annoyed that he failed to finish again, especially after posting his fastest time of the weekend in the morning warmup. Lifting the front end of the bike to help transfer weight more had helped with the front end feel, but Hayden got caught out by some bumps which put him on the floor. With MotoGP heading to Aragon, a track where Ducati had a double podium last season, Hayden will be hoping the change they made at Misano will continue to work there.

The other classes also saw some great racing, the Moto2 race turning into a positive thriller. In the end, class shone through, with Marc Marquez holding off Stefan Bradl to close the gap in the championship to 23 points. The 125cc race turned into a razor-sharp duel, with Nico Terol leading championship rival Johann Zarco for much of the race, but Zarco taking control in the final laps. Zarco looked to have the race in hand, but after some astounding riding to fend off attacks from Terol, the Frenchman threw it all away in a bizarre move on the run out of the final corner. With a clear gap, Zarco turned physically around on the bike to see where Terol had got to. In doing so, he lost so much of his momentum that Terol could easily power past, robbing Zarco of a victory he had worked so hard for and deserved right up until the last few meters.

Though the look back was one of the stupidest moves we have seen on the track for a long time - although some of Marco Simoncelli's race crashes have been right up there with Zarco's rearward glance - the problem was mainly one of inexperience. The Frenchman had learned a lot this year, he explained after qualifying, and was finding out the hard way what it takes to win a championship. He had not really believed that Terol could be beaten until Le Mans, when Maverick Viñales just got ahead of him at Zarco's home Grand Prix. That had annoyed him, Zarco said, and he realized that if Viñales could beat Terol, then so could he. But a stupid mistake at Barcelona meant he was denied the win for elbowing Terol off the track on the run to the straight, and then Zarco had the victory taken from him at the Sachsenring, when he crossed the line in a dead heat with Hector Faubel, with Faubel awarded the win by virtue of better lap times earlier in the race. Zarco had looked back because he was afraid that Terol would outdrag him to the line at Misano. That became a self-fulfilling prophecy, Zarco losing far too much time looking backwards, instead of facing forwards and going for the win. Zarco should learn from this experience too, and once he does finally get that first win under his belt, he should loosen up and add quite a few more scalps to his belt.

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Ha! What do you know? I replied a comment on a previous post where my main point was that Jorge was on the new engine. Seems you were right all along Oscar.

The top three (this year) are in reality so close in performance that any of them being even slightly off the game (set-up or health-wise) the other/s will scamper off to a several second advantage - this was Lorenzo's turn to have everything click and he rode right on top of the game.

Stoner has been the focus of a lot of carping criticism for taking off at the front and 'ruining the race' ever since '07; if that tactic - rather than the individual doing it - is the actual complaint, then it should apply equally. Personally, I think the sight of any of these guys churning out stunning laps one after another is a delight all of its own to watch. It is still the rider who makes the bike perform..

He knew he didn't have the pace of Terol to the line, said as much himself and he'd tested it on the previous laps. There seem to be a lot of commentators who haven't noticed any of this in the 4 laps prior to the end of the race - every time they hit the start/finish straight Terol pulled away, he simply had a faster bike at that point of the circuit.

After being appalled by his actions when i first saw the race, I must give credit to the young frenchman for owning up to his mistakes and being honest that he didn't quite know wth he was doing. There is almost no need for explanation really, that look on his face on the post-race-interview says it all.

Yes, Zarco didn't feel he had good drive. That is no excuse for not tucking under the bubble, and clearly he realized that too as soon as he stopped gesticulating and hit the finish line only a fraction behind Terol.

Clearly the kid wants to win. I hope he learns how.
Great writeup as usual David.

Oh Poor baby!! Lorenzo got booed!! I've got news for you Jorge, fans of any sport pay their admission and have the right to cheer, heckle, applaud, celebrate, or BOO anybody they want to ... He talks about the fans having a soccer fan mentality, but if he truly believed that he wouldn't have been egging them on. If the booing really does bother him I'd hate to see him competing in sports like American Football, Baseball, or Hockey!! ... Obviously the Italian fans are still unhappy with the comments he made earlier in the year that had Simoncelli receiving death threats when he had rode in Spain.

Italians are very strange with their " sportsmen".

I was in Italy in 1981, and was watching the F1 race from Monza in a hotel. Once the Ferraris were out, they all left the room. Werent interested in anyone else.

Of course, Rossi rode well yesterday to finish 7th, two place lower than Stoner did last year.

...five seconds faster than Stoner last year. Apples? Oranges? The bikes aren't remotely comparable anymore.

The race was 10 seconds faster than last year, the pole was 0.8 seconds faster.
Fastest race lap was over 0.5 second faster.
Pedrosa was 3 seconds faster than his race win for last year (best lap 1 tenth faster), that was only good for second this year.
Lorenzo gained 13 seconds compared to last year (best lap 7 tenths faster).
Rossi improved 5 seconds from Stoner last year (best lap 2 tenths faster).
Yamaha improved a lot at Misano, not Honda nor Ducati.

A completely dry race probably would have been quite a bit faster, so the difference between Rossi's time on this year's Ducati would have been even better than CS27 last year. Still think Stacey would have been quicker again had he been on VR's bike this time out though.

It's strange (for me) to see this perception of Italians as poor sportsmen! I guess it's a Nationalistic sort of thing!

My wife and I were at the only 2 GP's that Rossi has ever won at Valencia. As the MotoGP was reaching a conclusion and it was obvious that there was to be no Spanish victory it amused the Hell out of me to see a Spanish Sete Gibernau supporter, complete with t-shirt, cap etc put a Repsol jacket on (over his Sete shirt) take off his Sete cap and replace it with a Dani Pedrosa cap! (Dani had won the earlier 250 race!)
When I looked around to tell my wife what I'd just witnessed I was stunned to see the area behind me was virtually empty!

Some sports tend to hold their fans in higher regard, such as Motorcycle racing, cricket, tennis etc. There is an often spoken expectation that a fan, whilst barracking for a certain team, will respect the actions of their competitors.
Other sports like soccer, Australian-Rules Football, Baseball, Basketball etc all cater to the herd, tending to have more rabid and emotional fans, and don't so much expect that kind courtesy. There are no 'Where's the Ref!?' calls in MotoGP.
In this context, it WAS poor form by the fans, and not dissimilar to what Stoner cops in the UK.
I don't think that Lorenzo is really worried at all - I think he enjoyed it, but it isn't the norm and so therefore worthy of some comment. The most extreme reaction to it, I think, has been your post.

The "Some sports" comment had me laughing. Ask any (non-Italian) Davis Cup player what he thinks of Italian tennis fans and I think you'd get a very pointed response, and one that would make Mick Doohan's prickliness seem like absolute politeness and civility...... :-)

Even Italian opera audiences are infamous for booing.... and the tradition goes back to the 19th century at La Scala, so it's not necessarily a sign of recent moral decline.

Yes, it was rude. Would be good if it was otherwise. Lorenzo seemed to handle it pretty well. Now can we get back to discussing the temperature specific interactions of desmodromic valve gear and the hysteresis of Rossi's underwear?

Maybe Casey should buy some carbon re-inforced cycling shorts:

"Giordana then added carbon to these shorts to reinforce the new secondary fabric, Ametista. Carbon strengthens and controls the stretch of the super-elastic Ametista as well as protects your organs and muscles from cell-phone-tower and power-line electrical interference."

Are your suggesting that the fans who attend Cricket and Tennis are the same type of fans that attend Motorcycle races? I think you need to walk through the camp grounds at the race tracks a little more often :) ... And I honestly don't believe my reaction is that extreme. I simply believe that Lorenzo needs to man up! He's a well paid athlete who should understand that fans reactions, positive or negative, are part of the sport.

Same type? Nope, I didn't say that. But as for having a greater technical knowledge of their sport and appreciating talent as opposed to just yelling 'It's a foul!', 'Where's the ref??' or similar, yes.

Cricket, Golf and Tennis. Just not quite as much as my nr.1 watching and competing sport motorcycle road racing. Boo'ing is yet another example of the degradation of societal manners and respect which on the whole still exist in those sports (Golf's Ryder Cup on US soil apart). I wouldn't be rapturous with a Rossi win (due to the main to his 'fans' ) but I most certainly would applaud him should he do so again. To boo a rider displays nothing more than ignorance at the effort required to compete at this level. 'As a paying fan - it is your right to boo' WTF? A knuckle dragger comment if ever I've read one.

Fortunately, motorcycle racing fans do not usually lower to the level of the average soccer/hockey/"type any major sport you want here" fan. They tend to show respect for sportsmen putting their life at stake at every race. They tend to show great sportsmanship. Does anybody really want to see this kind of behavior around the track? This kind of behavior (no respect, polarized crowds, aggressiveness towards the other competitors) ultimately leads the way to hooligans...
I am glad to not see in Mugello or San Marino the same behaviors witnessed in Lazzio stadium.

Unfortunately, lately (is it related to the ill-results of Rossi? Because he would never get boohed for sure, but many fans are truly disappointed and could turn their "anger" against more successful competitors?) it has not been the case.
I don't expect the crowd to "booh" any rider, and I refuse to think that "this is to be expected" in motorcycle racing.
We should be better than that. That is NOT the spirit of the sport. And we would never have seen that 1 or 2 decades ago. It was not acceptable and unthinkable in those days, and it is not anymore acceptable now.

re: "Fortunately, motorcycle racing fans do not usually lower to the level of the average soccer/hockey/"type any major sport you want here" fan."

not entirely (yet), but with the advent of the internet and it's inherent anonymity, there are many a "mal-content" and the new generation of "consumer grade" fan actively working towards that goal. at the rate we're going...? i say give it a season or 3.

Good point.... so why is it that people are so keen to use pseudonyms on the internet?

If you want to see utmost respect for players (home & away), go see a Munster rugby game at Thomond Park. Every time the out-half from either team is preparing for a shot at goal, there is COMPLETE silence in the stadium. Its very impressive, all the singing, chanting, cursing etc is swamped by a chorus of "Shhhhhhhh!" and then nothing.

All over the stadium, the only sounds you can hear are the players footsteps as he runs up to the ball and then the "thump" as he fires at the posts. Depending on how the kick is looking, fans from one side will then roar back into life and the noise and atmosphere before the penalty resumes, as if nothing had happened.

Its unique to Thomond and is very special & cool.

Jorge Lorenzo is such a great heel. Better to be booed than ignored. It's a reaction. I'm surprised he even gets cheered in Spain.

Dovizioso fans just stand around with their arms crossed, wearing cardigan sweaters, while taking care of their kids trackside living their anonymous existences.

I find it interesting that Casey Stoner gets booed in the UK. And I have a theory about that. I think the Brits have a bit of a complex about not having one of their own to really cheer for. They think of less of the Australians as they do us Americans. It must kill to see Casey doing so well but still be a whinger. Or is that whiner?

Simoncelli did not receive death threats because of anything Lorenzo said or did. Simoncelli received death threats because of the incident with Pedrosa in Le Mans and his "I didn't do anything wrong and I don't give a f**k" attitude about it afterwards. And because some "fans" are obviously complete morons.

It's too bad that all race fans can't appreciate the riders for their incredible skills and not from where they call home but Spanish fans aren't exactly perfect either. One can't forget how British driver Lewis Hamilton was treated rudely by Spanish Formula 1 fans; so tasteless in fact that the FIA threatened to no longer race in Spain. Sad but true.



That Hamilton bit was terrible. Someone else mentioned how Stoner is treated in the UK. Dani Pedrosa is still met with some rudeness in the states because of 2006.
It'd be nice if fans could be adults about such things...

I heard nothing but cheers for Pedrosa at the trophy presentation at Indy.

Ive been going to Laguna Seca since '07. Haven't heard a single boo for the guy.

I specifically mean seeing a few "Fuck Pedrosa" shirts. There's a photo from Indy of a couple guys wearing them. Don't remember the year. Regrettable.

I was there 05'-09' and again this year. He did get some boos a few years back and there were some disrespectful one-off clothing choices but I didn't hear/see anything bad about him this year.

Having watched 4 years of my teenage daughter battling with ulcerative colitis, I have seen how quickly and dramatically energy levels can wane if the bowel is in an inflamed state. While the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance may be less severe and have a more gradual onset than those of UC, it is still an Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (or Irritable Bowel Disorder if you prefer) and a potentially debilitating disease. I suspect that Casey may not have been quite as good with his diet over the last month as he should have been and the outcome today is the result. All the riders today are elite athletes and I believe that this is more than a simple case of too little sleep and too much travel in too short a time. All the riders and teams did the same trips after all.

At the end of the day 3rd position, his 12th podium from 13 races, is still a good points haul. It was a great determined ride from Jorge, and an entertaining fight for 4th. I don't think this championship is settled yet, and I for one am glad of that.

Get back onto the diet Casey. UC is corrected by surgical removal of the colon, Lactose Intolerance is corrected by a selective diet. It really isn't a tough option!

Maybe he's just a bit stressed? He's got a pregnant wife and a high pressure job, it happens. Or he caught a cold on the plane back from the US and he was just getting the first symptoms (I caught one Friday and could barely concentrate to watch, let alone think about riding around with my elbow on the ground). Or he ate something dodgy in an airport...

And a pinched nerve in your neck can certainly cut your energy levels too, ask Ben Spies.

I've never seen Stoner with so many smiles after finishing third. I don't think he is worried at all about anything.

various riders reported that it was probably physically the most difficult race of the year, due to jet lag but mainly the humidity and high temperatures.
At least Pedrosa, Dovi, Bautista, Lorenzo and Crutchlow mentioned it.
Maybe Stoner was more affected than others but it was definitely a difficult race for everybody.
They'd better prepare better for Sepang...

Looking back at his pre-race comments it seems Stoner didn't expect to win that race. But in any case, mathematically he can finish second to Lorenzo for every one of the next five races and still win the championship. If he can win a couple and finish on the podium for the rest that's all he needs, as long as he avoids any major mistakes.

As for Sepang, yes it can be hot and humid, but it is much more flowing than Misano, so probably physically less of a problem.

The pendulum of fate can swing wildly in both directions you only need to look at 2006 for that. That said whilst Stoner merely needs to avoid major mistakes, Lorenzo needs to avoid all mistakes, however minor, to give us the tense finish to the title we all crave.

GrahamB29, I agree that there could be any number of causes of his sudden drop in energy levels, including all those mentioned by you, and I understand that we will never know unless he tells the world via press conference or similar. My hypothesis (guess really!!) is simply based on my experience living with a top end Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferer.

Ulcerative Colitis and Lactose Intolerance are at the opposite end of the IBS scale, but the root cause and symptoms are the same. The intensity of the symptoms are in relation to the position on the scale, so lower intensity symptoms for Lactose Intolerance and higher intensity symptoms for Ulcerative Colitis.

A sudden drop of energy is actually used clinically as an early warning symptom, so not "a little dramatic" to consider this. If left unresolved what follows in IBS cases is bowel cramping, explosive diahorrea, anemia, weight loss and ultimately death by starvation as the body cannot draw the nutrients required.

Now THAT is "a little dramatic"!! LOL!!

The sudden loss of energy, particularly during high intensity exercise is the result of reduced haemoglobin (caused by low grade bowel inflammation and bleeding) which reduces the capacity of the body to deliver oxygen to muscles and vital organs. I am sure that Casey would have been tested for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well during his initial testing, as the symptoms can be very similar even if the cause is not.

But as you say, it could have any number of causes, and I am guilty of having a particular focus based on my experience.

I certainly don't mean to diminish your experience in any way, UC is very nasty.

However IBS is a very broad diagnosis. In fact it's a diagnosis of exclusion: if you have ongoing symptoms (which can be quite mild) and no other cause is found, you are diagnosed with IBS. So given that Casey has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, technically he doesn't have IBS!
Moreover, there is a large effect of psychological state on intestinal happiness (as indicated by popular expressions linking extreme states of fear with underwear cleanliness:), which makes its diagnosis and treatment very difficult. Which is not to say it's any less real... The estimated population prevalence is around 10%.

Fatigue is a clinical symptom of just about everything from cancer to the common cold. Yet while maybe 10% of us will eventually be diagnosed with cancer (of which only a tiny fraction will occur before age 40), the estimated prevalence of chronic insufficient sleep in western societies is more like 60%.

Whatever the cause, and I tend to the pinched nerve as the primary culprit leading to reduced fitness anyway and difficulty sleeping as a side issue (Spies mentioned this aspect earlier when he was suffering from it), Stoner rode a well-managed race to finish on the podium. He also refrained from the (proffered by Lorenzo) opportunity to pay Rossi back for Rossi's rather boorish performance on the podium at Le Mans - and I rather thought Lorenzo's gesture to the Italian fans was well done, incidentally: 'I can't HEAR you'...

Just re-watched the race and it was a pity Stoner did have the issues, because it was developing really well as a head-to-head with Lorenzo and both were riding exceptionally well, with honours to Lorenzo for holding Stoner down beautifully. Could have ended as a re-match for Laguna - going either way.

As usual Stoner just called a spade a spade. In 2009, he was worried. 2011, definitely not. Lorenzo was without doubt supreme on the day. Disconcerting that niggle in the neck may be,but it's nowhere near the real pain in the neck he is to the opposition this year. Last 4 races with 3 wins and one lowly podium coupled to pole position.
Bradl and Marquez in Moto 2, George and Casey in GP1. The best part of the weekend is the points table. Its tightened up,not dramatically,but very nicely.
125 ??? What the hell was going through Zarco's head ?
All he had to do was take the shortest run to the line and pin the throttle, and his first win was right there.
Back to the Premier class. The battle for 4th was great as a spectacle in real time.
On another note,it was great to see Wayne Rainey enjoying Misano and Jorge Lorenzo dedicating the win to him. Well done Yamaha !!!


"For the second half of the race I was just too tired, simple as that, I'm very grateful to have finished on the podium. All credit to Jorge, he had a fantastic race, hopefully by Aragon I'll be fully fit and recovered."

I'm surprised no-one has thought to mention that Adriana may well have morning sickness, which is certainly disturbing to an empathic husband and which of course is not limited to mornings. Could well be another factor that Stoner feels is not really up for public discussion.

He better bag the championship this year then, coz he won't be getting much sleep in 2012.

Stoner dropped like a stone, hardly giving any resistance to either Lorenzo or Pedrosa. I think it was pretty obvious something else was going on.

Casey seems to have problems maintaining a blistering pace for a whole race. He likes to get ahead and put those few really fast laps in and after that backs off a tad and only ups it as needed. It may be fatigue in this case but it's something I've always said about him.

In 2012 Stoner won:

Qatar +3"4 (Lorenzo)
Le Mans +14"2 (Dovizioso)
Catalunya +2"4 (Lorenzo)
Silverstone +15"2 (Dovizioso)
Laguna Seca +5"6 (Lorenzo)
Brno +6"5 (Dovizioso)
Indianapolis +4"8 (Pedrosa)

Average win margin over 7 seconds...have you seen many riders winning with margins larger than that in MotoGP lately?
On one hand people complain of runaway victories and on the other hand some people think Stoner has a problem maintaining a fast pace?

Take a look a the laptimes analyses on motogp.com, you will see that it is simply not true.

For example take his last 2 wins:

- Indianapolis: only 2 riders were able to lap in the 1'39, Spies on 4 occasions, Stoner on 11 occasions (up to lap 23 of 28).
He led from lap 7 and was the fastest rider on track 14 laps (up to lap 23).

- Brno: 8 riders lapped at least once under 1'58 (9 times for Dovizioso, 8 for Simoncelli, 5 for Rossi and Bautista, 4 for Spies, 3 for Lorenzo, 1 for Pedrosa).
Stoner led from lap 3 and lapped 18 times out of 22 laps (from lap 2 to lap 19) under 1'58.
He was the fastest rider on track for 15 laps (up to lap 17)!
Yes he did back off for the last 3 laps of the race, by that time he was almost 8 seconds ahead of Dovi.

When he is on, he is consistently fastest rider on track throughout the race, myth busted.

He has yet to win a race in 2012, but I realize that's just a typo.
I complain about runaway victories because they can be boring.
Anecdotally, it seems like when he has to fight too much he can't keep it going. Maybe it's the fighting part.

Can't keep going when he has to fight?? There are so many examples (real not anecdotal) in Stoner's MotoGP career to date that prove you wrong that it is hard to know where to begin. Try Laguna 2011, Catalunya 2007 for starters.

He was the one saying that he was too tired to compete. Let's hope it is just an odd case of sleep deprivation due to jet lag + neck injury and it has nothing to do with last year fatigue-related issues.

Stoner sounds resigned to retire early. What a shame that would be when that day comes. I can only hope some resolution to his mysterious health problems can change his blase outlook.

As we armchair physicians are all suspecting, his prior health issues did not present like 'lactose intolerance' . Although, it is reasonable to dismiss this isolated episode of 'sleep deprivation' as just that. Who knows. It's good for the championship though

I'd really like to know where those rumors came from that he basically had been subsisting on candy bars & junk food whenever he got hungry, didn't like to take the time to eat a balanced, actual meal, and that he really didn't have a diet to speak of.

I feel like garbage if I mess about and eat just junk food for a day, so I can only imagine that if true, this "diet" easily could have caused a physiological crisis for his body.

Then, when he took a break from 3 races, he was suddenly back swinging and winning races (it'd fit VERY well with him finally being told by a doctor "eat your vegetables, dummy") if he got on a decent diet.

Now, this theory was never even close to substantiated, and it would have been embarassing for all involved if it was disclosed, so I think there was a convenient "lactose intolerance" to blame for everything. Honestly, the choco-diet fits the scenario for that year, and it can quickly explain a relapse of poor physical form if he is indeed back on the choco-diet.

I originally came for the MotoGP scoop.

I stay for the expert analysis, no matter what the subject.

I had no idea that IBS and lactose intolerance were related. What do you reckon a video of Casey Stoner's colonoscopy would worth on the black market?

As exciting as those last few laps between Dovi, Sic and Spies were, its pretty pathetic that we are hanging off our couches waiting for "a pass" (singular!) to make a premier class motorcycle race seem interesting.

Bring on the 1000s and give them bigger fuel tanks. This 800 era can't finish soon enough for me.

Casey mentioned last year that the riders (at least the aliens) make few mistakes ...
The tire, suspension & chassis are the limiting factors in utilizing the available hp ..
2012 will be interesting!