Sunday Post Race Debrief: Casey Stoner

This is what Casey Stoner had to say after Sunday's MotoGP race at Jerez:

Casey Stoner had a difficult weekend at Jerez. After starting off well on Friday, the Marlboro Ducati struggled to improve his pace. "Basically we didn't improve our race setup from the start of the weekend," Stoner said. "We went with the best race setup we had, the one that we had the most confidence in the front. Everything felt pretty good at the start of the race, so I decided to try and get past Jorge, he wasn't so quick at the start. As I started closing the gap to Nicky, I lost the front about three times in one lap. From there it was time to back it off, because I was riding with too many risks. After that, I tried not to lose too much time to the guys in front, while keeping the guys behind me at the same sort of gap, without putting too much weight on the front. Unfortunately, by the time we got to about the halfway point, the front started feeling a lot better, but we're still struggling a lot with rear grip. I tried pushing hard for as many laps as I could, but a big old bug hit the visor, and I had to slow down to get rid of that because I couldn't see through turns properly. "

"The bike was feeling pretty good, I was doing reasonable lap times, nothing too special, but on the last two or three laps, the right hand side of my tire was just completely destroyed, there was no grip on the edge. Once I picked the bike up, the tire was pretty good, but nothing on the edge."

"In general, we're pretty happy, my fitness is one thing I'm very happy with. We just needed to have a little bit more confidence at the start of the race to keep with those guys."

"It was a good start on Friday, but we knew that we were nowhere near where we needed to be. Unfortunately, we just never found a better setup, and it wasn't good enough to run the race. It didn't give me confidence, it didn't give me any front stability, the braking wasn't very good. But the turning and everything like that was just exceptional. We just couldn't outdo that all weekend, and that was very disappointing, it was a hard thing for me to swallow. Last year, we started off well and tapered off to the end of the race, and this year it was the opposite, so it's very disappointing."

Stoner was asked whether the weight distribution of the Ducati which is the problem. "I don't know. It could just be this track. Once we get away from here, things might change again. Nicky seemed to have it pretty well sorted this weekend, he seemed happy with the bike, and that's just the way we want it. Maybe we'll go to the next track and his setup won't work and mine will."

Stoner took comfort from this weekend's race, though. "Jerez has always been a track we struggle at, and it's so much better this year than it ever has been. Still, even after the race. But I didn't do a good enough job during the practice sessions to get the setup sorted for the race."

The race had thrown up plenty of questions for Monday's test for Ducati. "Tomorrow, we won't so much be working on the right setup, just confidence with the front end. We kept losing the front all weekend. And we need to understand when we can put more weight and less weight on the front, maybe change geometry a little bit. But I'm not to worried at this point."

"For me, it's an advantage to have Nicky fast. We get reasonable data coming in now. When he was a second or more behind, there was no real data coming in to the team. Now that it's coming in from a different direction, it's a lot better. When we have more people putting good data into the bike, that helps us throughout the season."

Stoner was not concerned about the championship, he said. "We can't speak about the gap in the championship until the end of the season. It's just been two races. Almost everybody crashes at least once a year, there's mechanical failures. There's a lot of variables and there's another 16 races to go. I'm really not thinking about this. "

The Australian had also been impressed by Lorenzo's pace. "Jorge seemed to have a bit of grip over everyone. He was driving out of all the turns, while everyone else is coming out of them spinning up. Other than that, he just rode a damn good race, made the others look silly. I felt I could have hung with Dani and Valentino, but if Jorge hadn't have dropped so far back, he just would have gone away at the front. "

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I agree he sounds really mature in that interview. He and Lorenzo are arguably the fastest guys out there. Only problem is the mental side where you get crushed by Rossi.

-and I've mentioned this before, but not on this site, that Lorenzo certainly did cave in to pressure last year. May or may not have been Rossi pressure, but he certainly folded in Brno and Phillip Island. IMO, once he didn't have any pressure to win anymore because he was too far back, is when he did his best. However I don't see any signs of him caving into pressure like that again. The guy seems as cool as a cucumber and has been doing a little maturing himself too. I wonder if he can keep the consistency up in the next few races? This could be his year, and Vale will have his hands full for sure.

On a separate note, I think Casey did the right thing in the race by keeping it legal until he had more feeling in the bike. It would not have been good if he crashed again.

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