Casey Stoner's Post Le Mans Press Conference: "It Seems Like I'm Being Teased"

After crashing out at the Le Mans Grand Prix this weekend, a visibly upset Casey Stoner spoke to the press, to give his side of events. The Marlboro Ducati rider was upset, but most of all, he was mystified why he had crashed. There was nothing in the data to explain it, and he did not believe he had done anything wrong. He spent nearly 15 minutes talking to a throng of reporters in a crowded Ducati hospitality unit. Below is a nearly complete transcript of that conference, with only some sections where Stoner repeated himself removed.

Q: Front end Casey?

Casey Stoner: Yeah, I lost the front end for about 15 to 20 meters before it actually went down. I'd pretty much ground through my elbow protection there trying to keep it up, but it was a lost cause. After a while the rear end just followed it round and it was game over.

You know I'd pushed that bike around really hard all weekend, because we didn't want the same problems that we'd had at Jerez and Qatar. I pushed it as hard as I possibly could, and it never faltered, it never wobbled, it never did anything. The rear had a couple of moments which we were trying to improve all weekend, but nothing with the front.

And so we're going through a corner that relatively you don't put much pressure on the tire, there's not a lot to do there once you get into the corner, it's just a matter of smoothly coming out and then picking the bike up for the exit. We get to the most unimportant part of the corner on probably the whole circuit and I just lose the front.

You know, to be honest I just have no idea and I'm hugely disappointed because we knew we had the pace today, and it could have been a nice fight today between myself and Jorge, I believe I could have run his pace, but he made the others look silly today, hats off to him, he did the job and I had to pick myself up out of the gravel trap.

We didn't break the handlebars! [Everyone laughs] But just as a nice tease, the bike did an end-over-end so I couldn't have finished the race anyway. Just my luck, you know, the handlebars don't break but everything else does.

This is the same chassis that we had last year, it's not like we've changed the chassis hugely for this year, we've only changed the engine. Maybe it's just taking a little bit more weight with the extra traction and losing it like that.

But as I said, I was pushing it around all weekend. And then when we're not pushing it, it just decides to go away on me, so it's becoming a little bit frustrating, but I guess I've just got accept responsibility for it, get over it and get ready for next weekend, because I've made things very difficult for myself this year, maybe impossible. So we're just going to take it race by race now, and do what I've come out to do and try and win races.

Q: Do you think the extra traction pushes the front more than last year?

CS: We could maybe understand that if it continued to happen throughout the practice sessions when we had good grip. We should have had some other warnings. But nothing.

Like I said, the bike's been working fantastic all weekend, absolutely beautiful on this track, and like I said, I was the only one capable of staying with Jorge. Whether I could have or not I don't know. But lap-time-wise, by far we were the only ones capable of doing it. So, it's just frustrating knowing that as well.

In Qatar we were fast enough, here we were fast enough, in Jerez we were fast enough to possibly be there for the podium, but again we lost the front [at Jerez] a little bit, managed to save that one. Tried to save it here [at Le Mans}, but, you know, nothing. We can say maybe that it's the engine giving us a little bit too much traction, but today in the race, because we scrubbed the tires in the morning warmup - the rear, the front I didn't have a problem with, but the rear felt very slippery, we didn't have a lot of grip there, so maybe it's the opposite, that we didn't have enough grip in the middle of the turn and it wanted to close.

But to be honest I can't explain it. It's the same bike as last year, just the carbon swingarm instead of the aluminium swingarm. But that's nothing to do with it, because we ran the carbon last year with great success. Same chassis as last year, just a different engine, and it's just really hard to explain, also to myself or anybody, why it's happening. Maybe it's my fault, maybe I'm making mistakes, so if I can understand what I'm doing, then maybe I can improve that.

I pushed to catch up with the front group, because Nicky was dropping back a little, so I tried to get past to close the gap, and by the first turn, I had already caught back up again. So I was relaxed, I was ready, just making sure that nobody was getting away from the front, and then all of a sudden, the front goes. You know, it seemed like it was just your normal little slip at first, but you normally catch that. So it slipped at first, I caught it, and then immediately, it went again, and that's the one that just dragged on and on, and I just couldn't pick it up. You know, it was not as spectacular as Doohan's but a similar situation where it was just going, going, going and then there was no coming back from it.

Q: Any idea about the route to follow to solve this problem? Maybe to change the way of working?

CS: Not really, no. We would have changed something if we'd have felt the differences in the practice session. I mean, if we go to the next track and we don't have any problems, what are we looking for, what are we trying to change? If we don't find problems, there's no point trying to fix it.  So, I don't know. Maybe we can try running a different pressure in the front tire, something like that.

But like I said, we've been looking for a problem all this weekend, we've been looking for a problem. We were wondering why it had been happening already this season. By the time we got to race, we weren't worried about this issue. We've been trying all weekend to find something wrong with the front end, but it's been perfect, it's been great, so there's no reason for it. As for the championship, it's almost impossible, so we'll just see.

I already had to get race wins anyway. To be honest, the championship is so far away at this stage of the season. I guess we've got to try and get my confidence back up there so I don't start losing the front again. We'll see what happens, but I might just have to finish a couple of races, and then get going again. But I'll be giving everything at these next few races, see what I'm capable of.

Q: Nicky said you had a very short memory for bad moments. Is this true? Does it only last for a few moments in your mind? Or does it take time to recover from a psychological point of view?

CS: No, it doesn't take time to recover. If you're mature enough, you know the past is the past, now go to the present, it's a different track and a different day. So we just have to look to the future and see what happens. But I'm not worried about what's happened already.

If we go to Mugello and we start having front end issues again, then I guess I'll be a little cautious in the race. But it's normally when I back off that I crash, so maybe I should just go as hard and as fast as I can to the end, and see what happens. But there's nothing too much to think about really, you think about it for half an hour or an hour, you get everything out of your system and go on to the next one.

Q: How big a shock was it to find yourself crashing on a day when everything seemed to be going so well?

CS: I mean, as soon as it went, because it took that long, I just couldn't believe it. I was sliding towards the gravel trap, just distraught. So many things had already gone through my head before I even reached the gravel. I was just wondering why. All weekend the front end had been perfect, I had to worry more about the rear. For it to go, it really caught me unawares, I wasn't expecting it. In Jerez, I'd been expecting it, I'd been ready for it. Here, I just wasn't ready for it, because the bike had been so good all weekend. Don't know what to say really, that's just the way it's going.

I wasn't really thinking about the championship before, we're that far behind, we have to start winning races before we can start thinking OK, we're there. You know, there's nothing I'm really thinking about at this stage, just whatever I can do to repair the damage and try and get going.

But it seems like I'm being teased, you know? I go to the first round and snap the handlebar and can't finish the race, even though I probably could have probably still caught quite a bit of ground in that first race. And this race, we don't snap the handlebar but snap just about everything else on the bike. So maybe third time lucky and next time we won't crash. We'll see how we go.

Q: Have you already had a chance to look at the data from the crash?

CS: We don't need to. I mean, my team would have called me and spoken to me if I'd done something wrong. You know, it's the first thing I want to know, if I made a mistake, tell me. It's the best thing that I can know. The easiest thing to fix is myself rather than the bike. But if nobody's said anything to me then I didn't do anything different to any other lap, I was probably slower than other laps because I was following people, so there's nothing I can really explain, you know. We can only look at it from the next races at different tracks, so we just have to look onwards and upwards.

Q: Lorenzo said he felt he was becoming more mature, and in a way, you said something similar about yourself. Do you think you would have reacted differently to this, two or three years ago? Not give a press conference, let's say?

CS: [Laughs] I'd have preferred it today as well! [Everyone laughs] When you've had a day like today, the last thing you want to do is stuff like this. But, yes, Jorge's getting more mature, and I'm getting more mature, but crashing more, so maybe I should go back to my immature days....

But Jorge did a great job today, he did a fantastic job last race, I think last race was a much better win than today. Today was half expected, he's been able to outpace Valentino since his thumb's come half good. It's pretty much been him who's been the one to beat in the last two races. We've got to do something else, but we know we have the pace to win, I've just got to start staying on the bike and see what we can do at the end of the race, rather than the start.

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I sure hope Casey finishes all remaining races -- it's not the same when he's not in there, because for the last few years he's been the most consistent threat to Rossi, although if he doesn't stop crashing he'll surrender that distinction to Lorenzo (which from the looks of things may happen anyway).

I sense the distinct signs, early enough but there, of someone who is mentally beat. Nicky's comments re short memory notwithstanding, this is the kind of thing that gets in your head and stays there. Not knowing when the bike is gonna let you down (something our host David is now familiar with!) leads to a lack of confidence and maybe just a tiny bit slower throwing it into the corner. Sounds like he's trying to move on, But I get the feeling this is gonna be a problem for Casey. Hope I'm wrong.

There are certainly some series where you have to wonder about the quality control of the tires, but MotoGP is not one of them. The Bridgestones really are quite remarkable, both in the grip they provide and the consistency of their production and feel. I would suspect some kind of flex issue in the front suspension more than anything else, as Nicky Hayden has also reported the front wanting to let go. Hayden said he had two or three major moments during the race, but he managed to save them. So it's a Ducati problem, not a Bridgestone problem, otherwise you would also be seeing the same problem with Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.

Watching Hayden when he was closing on Dovi, you can clearly see him nearly lose the front at least twice. He was making up .2-.3 second on Dovi, lost the front and was back to even. IT is very clear that he could have been faster had he not had those scares.

If this was a Bridgestone problem, other riders would be experiencing the same thing.

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My post is certainly not meant as a Bridgestone bash, but I believe that there actually could be an issue. A mysterious one. Stoner loses the front and claims he wasnt pushing hard. Cappirex loses the front, so does Spies. Spies also pulls out of Jerez because of a mysterious bad feeling that left him feeling like he was going to lose the front many times. Nicky loses the front many times but keeps it upright. Colin has zero confidence in the front at a track he loves. I saw Dovi lose it a couple times as well. I believe Bridgestone is a great company making a great product, but I also believe that a few bad apples could slip through the cracks. Quality control can only go so far as inspecting the carcass and the bead and the layers to make sure the thing wont delaminate during use, but no eyeball, computer or exray can confirm how it will feel IMO. The only way to "test" them is to use them. It just seems like the common denominator to me and impossible to rule out.

PS. Glad your trip got sorted out finally. :-)

I was saying this in another post as well. There could be a bad run of tires, or a few in each batch that underperform. Let's look at the common denominators at play here. The bikes use the same tires, and for the most part, the same forks. Other than that, they are all about as different as you can get within the confines of the rules (non-conventional front ends not included).

We have Spies off at Jerez with a bike that he said would almost crash at any corner, even going much slower than he was going previously. We have Colin with similar issues at Lemans. Capirossi crashes and doesn't understand why. Stoner has no idea why either. Nicky saved it 2 or 3 times but says he could have crashed anytime by going a tiny bit faster.

The caliber of all these guys and the similarity of the problems are too great to ignore.

Bridgestone or Ohlins, your pick.

Watched the footage of Casey's crash a few times. He definitely knows what happened. You watch the video and you can see him loose the front and then catch it the first time. Then the front just starts sliding and won't stop. Do any of the conspiracy theorists out there think there is a quality control problem with the Bridgestones?

So, Is where he says "I was probably slower than other laps because I was following people, so there's nothing I can really explain, you know"
the part that was being interpreted as blaming slower riders(as in Nicky) or is that part omitted from above . Because I sure don't see that as whining and blaming someone else as was being thrown about by some folks post-race. Frustrated,worried and disappointed for sure, but no whining or finger pointing to be read here.

After the races, two things happen. The press officers get first shot at the riders, grabbing a quick quote from their riders and team managers to put in press releases. Later, we hacks get to talk to the riders, usually in more detail and at much greater length. The quote you are talking about came from Ducati's press release. Stoner there was talking about both Qatar and Le Mans, and the "slower riders" at Qatar were Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa.

The sense I got from talking to Stoner about it was that he cannot push as aggressively as he likes when he is behind another rider, which means the tires aren't behaving as he expects. Not being able to ride a different way may actually be Stoner's problem, rather than anything else.

no harm in bringing that subject up the other day. I like Casey and Nicky as team mates but you have to understand, Myself (and others) are trying to hear, read, translate comments from the other side of the world. I truly meant nothing more than, how did everyone else take that snippet.

ok, I got my hand slapped earlier this week for looking for something that maybe/maybe not was there. Please forgive me. So now I want to throw something else out there about this situation so please bear with me.

There is nothing on the data that suggests Casey is doing something wrong. I completly believe that. The team runs perfectly all weekend with no hitches until the race. What gives? Here is what I think. We all know practice is practice and RACES ARE RACES. These guys get pumped up just like everyone else in other sporting events...right? Ok, here goes. We know Nicky is not an alien (yet) and just about everyone agreed to that the other day. Casey IS.. so maybe what we have here is a 1st place guy on a 4th place motorcyle at this point. Now gimme a second to explain. Casey is and has ridden the wheels off this thing and no one has been able to do it until this year with Nicky, a 4th place guy (right now). I understand Casey has a championship under his belt with this bike but that was sometime ago and things are a bit different with the bike than when he won it. Nicky (like it or not) and I'm a HUGE FAN is a 4th place guy. Probably the best racer outside the top tier guys. Unfortunantely, the bike is giving him exactly what he needs to finish 4th. Casey is a different story. I'm not certain that bike can give him week in week out what he needs to finish 1st, which is exactly what type of racer he is.

I know it may sound crazy but I have no idea what else it could be. He is screaming from the mountain tops that the bike,data, riding style is the same. It can't be, can it? Something has changed and I believe as crazy as it may be, Casey is too fast for the bike right now. I do believe Ducati can fix it but it needs to happen soon.

Anyway, agree or disagree I would like to hear what everyone thinks about this and maybe even what you think it could be.

Excellent post, and a great contribution. And there's certainly a lot of merit in what you're saying. Nobody pushes that bike like Stoner can, for whatever reason, and so Stoner is the first rider to really find the limits of it. 

Makes me think that Casey has used up all the factory support Ducati can muster, and methinks Casey will be looking long and hard at other factory teams for next year (really only Honda comes to mind...)

I could agree that perhaps what made the bike work for Hayden is screwing with Stoner except that Hayden has complained of exactly the same problem. Clearly the bike has an issue but I don't think it is a matter of compromising what made it work in pursuit of tailoring it to Hayden. If Hayden weren't complaining of the same problem - and demonstrating it in the race - I would think otherwise.

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It's my turn to backpedal a bit, hands in the air...

Someone I know, respect, and really trust, has said that Casey's not a whiner. I'm actually gonna put that above any petty ideas I might have. At least, for the time being. I think that maybe he's to be taken at his word. Last year, his mystery illness was just that: A MYSTERY ILLNESS. This year, ceteris paribus, he's telling the truth, and the bike is just mysteriously letting go. Sounds truly horrifying to me. I can't imagine how frightening it would be. You NEED confidence in your machinery when you're risking your life out there...

I've always got a fork handy for when I need to eat some humble pie. (OR crow, if you've got it...) :)

Can I have a napkin? Please?

visor9, What you're saying reminds me of this from MLB in 1943. "Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell debuted a bizarre "softball-like" pitch that looped the ball eighteen to twenty feet high on its way down to the strike zone. The "gag-pitch" was almost impossible to judge from the batters box and was later coined as a "blooper" or "eephus ball"."

Could you find out if he does, David?
In case he does: keep fighting, the title is up for grabs and you can do it. I'm sure you can win 'em by the dozen if the front issues get sorted out.

It could just be bad luck. Everyone has theirs. Even Rossi couldn't buy luck in 2006. Maybe it was a slippery slug or bird dropping. I doubt he'll be too mentally beat. When he stops going fast, I'd imagine it would be a sign. But I don't think anyone can say that so far.

That would be my guess. I think we are looking a little too hard trying to find patterns in too small of a sample.

I've always wondered about the tear-offs people toss all over the track. Wonder what happens when your front wheel gets on one of those while on the edge?

Stoner is one of my faves. I can watch him lap all day and I do like that he has a little personality in a paddock full of guys with corporate smiles waving power drinks. He's no Foggy or Roberts, but he speaks his mind and he's on the gas! Win it or Bin it is an acceptable approach to this race fan :)

As a long time observer of racing, I have a theory about Casey. Notice that he always hits the track running hard in practice and qualifying, sets fast times and does only a few laps. It looks like a long time ago he accidentally, or on purpose, pushed the Ducati through a handling barrier and rides with very high loading on the front tire, and the tire works for him. His crashes seem to be when he is backing off the pace. He has mentioned several times that he wasn't going that hard when he loses the front, like when he is following a slower rider or leading by a long way and backs off his pace. This would explain why other good riders could not come to terms with the Ducati using a progressively faster lapping approach. They hit the handling barrier and can't push through. It's sort of like breaking the sound barrier, if you cautiously ease into it, you get a nasty ride. If you blow through it gets very smooth. If Casey starts getting conservative, he will be in big trouble.

This year all of Casey's crashes have happened in the first couple of laps. I wonder if he spends any time in practice with a full tank. Casey normally runs very few laps in practice, maybe he should run a few more to see how the bike handles with a full tank.

In the first two races Lorenzo said he had real difficulty with the first few laps, but as he burned off some fuel he was very fast. JLo even said for this race he was concentrating on setting his bike up for a full tank, so he could be fast from the start. It seemed to work!

Now for some speculation: In my old age my memory might be failing me, but it seems that this year a lot of riders have fallen in the first few laps. Maybe, this year's front tire is much different from last year's in the way it reacts to the extra weight of a full tank. Maybe, in years past the handling characteristics didn't change too much from full tank to empty tank and it wasn't necessary to adjust the bike setup for the change in weight. Maybe, this year when Bridgestone "improved" the tire they created one of K's "unintended consequences".

I posted this earlier today, following up on a similar thought I proposed yesterday:

Enough has changed in the weight balance on the bike since last year (rider mass, engine character, other "secret" design changes) that they have a problem on a full tank that they haven't had before. Issues with BridgeStone become a chicken-vs.-egg question and are likely inextricably linked.

Whether it's as simple as there's more rear grip than he was used to and that's throwing off the balance during full-tank, or whether all those changes are not kosher with (some of) the front tires this year, or both, I don't know... but that's what it looks like to me.

It could be interpreted that Hayden is experiencing the same problems, but is a little more prudent in managing it. Whether that's just the way he is, or is the lesson he learns taking longer runs in free practice, I guess, is the big question.

Finally...A group of people on this site that actually talk sense..I applaud you people on here for having some input that actually makes me believe there are some REAL bike race fans on this site...What a relief..
I was ready to pull the pin on here after hearing the Stoner bashing that seems to be a constant all the time..Why can't people just appreciate that he is one of the fastest motorcycle riders in the world and he is struggling at the moment..I believe he has an issue with the bike not his riding..A guy who has been so fast and so consistent doesn't just start crashing all the time for no reason..I watched that crash over and over and it just didn't make sense at all...Yes i agree that he says things sometimes that don't come across how he probably wanted them to but not everyone is as comfortable in front of the camera as Valentino..Does anyone remember Kenny Roberts senior or Barry Sheene ? They use to say stuff that upset a lot of people..Didn't mean we didn't love or respect them for their abilities..
I believe Casey will get it sorted and be back to his fast and brilliant self..So can we start our own thread on here where we can go for people who make sense instead of knob heads who just want to bash riders and make comments about their wives ?
Thanx people for restoring my faith in this site..

It's odd that the general feeling that there is a lack of character of the bikes and the riders with traction control and sponsor constraints respectively. But people don't like when the personal character of their favorite riders is called into question. Fans watch for the the whole show, the whole drama. I just think it's a bit sad that rider character becomes off-limits and anything related becomes an invalid discussion. Stupid comments like, 'rider X is a smelly dog' is obviously a waste of time and space. But I think comments on someones character, focus and off track distractions are perfectly valid, even if a bit shallow at times. I feel it's at least as thought provoking as armchair second guessing an army of professional tire technicians or chassis engineers. Or maybe we should all just start watching radio controlled motorcycle racing and leave the riders out of it all together. I'd then yearn for the old days of 'Pedrobots' or Honda hegemony.

I have been amazed by Stoners ability in practice to "hit" the lap times within a few laps. Incredible. I don't believe you can compare Hayden and Stoners front end issues if one rider is half a sec slower. Too much can change in that half second.

I'm not sure where to put my "two bob's worth" yet. Bike issue/Tyre/Rider. If he didn't have an issue all weekend like he has had in previous rounds...

What I would be interested in though that somebody has alluded to in an earlier post; and I'm sure Mr Emmett could answer - Is does Stoner try varying fuel loads in practice? He doesn't seem to do the long runs like Rossi or especially Lorenzo does. Are they getting a feel for wear on tyres and fuel loads and if they are why doesn't Stoner need to?

I guess his method has worked in the past with a World Championship...argh!

There has to be something different in the tires. Ben Spies said in an interview when they asked him the different characteristics of the Pirelli compared to the Bridgestone. He stated the Bridgestones work better with more load on them in the middle of the turn. He said the more load you can put on them in a corner without being on the brakes or gas, the better they work. He also said the biggest thing for him to get his head around is loading the tires in the beginning of the race and trusting them. Casey Stoner has the gift to go fast from the word go. He will do just a portion of the laps others do and set fastest laps in just a few laps, compared to others Race Distance laps to get there times down.

There seems to be nothing Ducati can find, and it seems to be a little bit of crisis going there to find the problem. Bridgestone seems to have lost something. Other riders seem to be having issues with the front tire outside of Ducati. But, it is a Spec Tire Series. Meaning the manufacturers have to come up with a way to adapt the chassis to however the tires are behaving.

Last but not least...... You guys have to admit this feeds the fire to the rumors of Casey leaving Ducati for Honda. If they do not fix the issue it will be a reaction like pigeons going for the bread that someone throws them at a park.

Hope Ducati does solve the issue, and Casey gets back up to the front. He is entertaining to watch in a fight or riding by himself in front finding new limits. Pushing the bike to do things that it does not seem to want to do. It is still the beginning of the season. There is still alot of time.

is it just my imagination or has the first part of stoners race seemed worse this year than last year. im talking about the first 3 or 4 laps.. not the crashes
in all three races so far he's been mugged into the first corner and has seemed to have more difficulty in passing riders quickly than last year.
i noticed their warm up strategy had changed in qatar and jerez, stoner was one of the first riders to complete the warm up lap instead of being the last, i was thinking the change of strategy due to the valencia crash might have robbed him of the early advantage he used to have from having hotter tyres than everyone else.
in le mans i noticed he was almost the last to complete the warm up lap, but he didnt really do any better in the race.

Casey just isn't coming good with the current iteration of the Duc. The engine rule has claimed it's first victim. He won't be the first to suffer from a firing order change. He has lost the feel for the throttle to traction connection and only a change in riding style will change him, and the teams, results. It's a shame, but he is the first to come to the forefront of scrutiny.

... Hasnt casey publicly said that he likes the new engine and that it has improved the throttle to traction connection?

Yes, I agree, he has categorically stated that in public, but the package doesn't appear to be meshing with him at the moment. The fact that he cannot determine what is causing his issues would lead me to think that he has lost the feeling and cannot solve the issue.

What seems to be working well for Nicky, currently isn't working for Casey. The 2009 machine seemed to have the exact opposite effect on the two. It would be hard to believe, but quite possible, that the more tractable motor is causing the front end issues. The switch from the screamer to the more tractable big bang was done to aid the engine longevity, a direct trickle down of the new engine rule, hence, the reasoning behind my first post. I'm probably way out in left field here, but it is plausible.

I sure hope he gets it together soon, he's killing my fantasy racing team at the moment....

As much as a Hayden fan, the bike works better than the previous version for Hayden, but Stoner sets faster laptimes between the 2 of them, this year's or last year's Duc.

Look at the real scoreboard - average starting position, average finish, location in championship standings. To date, it would be hard to dispute that this machine has worked out better for nicky....I haven't heard any "it feels like this bike is trying to kill me" comments in 2010.

And? That doesn't really change the fact that Hayden has complained of exactly the same problems with the bike that Stoner has.

Hayden is clearly more at ease with this bike than with last year's Ducati but the fact is, Stoner is still faster on it. Fix Stoner's problem and you will fix Hayden's problem. Both will be faster.

As Hayden said, he could not have ridden .002 faster without losing the front end. Sort of like Stoner did.

Almost all riders admit that they made a mistake when they crash. The funny thing about Casey is that he won't say it. I think he needs to find a new way to ride, as others are saying. Perhaps just in the initial laps when the tank is full. Or perhaps when he is being held up by slower riders. The rider is in control and can make adjustments. This is what great riders do.

The other interesting part to me, is the subtle (or not) jabs at Rossi. Saying that Jorge made everyone look silly, and that Jorge is definitely the one to beat is direct mental games with the defending champ. I like it. I think he's learned that over the years from the master himself.

If you read what Stoner says carefully, I believe he would honestly love to know that he did something wrong. As he said, if he knew what it was he could fix it. You can't really fault the guy for not admitting something he hasn't been able to identify.

Now, it might be reasonable to question Stoner's ability to identify mistakes in his riding but that is not the same thing as not admitting to a mistake.

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Yeah I read that part, but just like Spies two races ago, I don't think you can tell *everything* from telemetry data. Stoner made a mistake and Spies just had a bad day. Both rider error. Two crashes in the first three races is a big problem and he should start looking at how he is riding if he wants to compete for the championship.

I think Stoner is actually one of the riders that is best in interpreting the data - and acting upon it. That is exactly why he doesn't understand this issue imo.

Nothing too subtle about those jabs (not that I have an issue with it either). But it appears he still hasn't gotten over the dirt (but really asphalt) corkscrew pass. Those barbs can't prick Rossi, although I'm sure it's fun for Casey anyway.

But hearing Casey talk about maturity is borderline comical.

Mate, you should try the Forum, you'll find a community of racing fans there who enjoy well-reasoned debate and subjects teased out extensively, with many really thoughtful and very informative comments and analysis. That community welcomes everybody with a sensible and intelligent contribution and you'd probably be surprised how many threads get deep into all sorts of things - not only racing but general stuff, and also some of the wryest humour around - the 'Motorcycle Diaries as told to Lucy' thread. From your comment you'd probably find you fit right in, and the more the merrier!

Why is it not possible to just make an error? These guys are on the absolute limit of adhesion. Any less and they wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Stoner, for one reason or another crashed. Is it THAT important that we have to find the exact reason for it? Why look for conspiracies or other reasons. As one of the other posters said, lots of other riders, when they crash just say 'I made a mistake...'. Unless it happens every race, then everyone just moves on.

Stoner, for all his totally amazing riding ability has often failed to explain his crashes. He was unable to do so, IIRC, in 125, 250 and the 990 Honda. The Honda was probably a different case, but I remember distinctly the Michelin people becoming increasingly concerned about his safety, not for the crashing itself, but that he could never explain why. We now know that the Michelin tyres he was on were 3rd string hoops and this would explain in part his issues, but I see a pattern with a rider who seems incapable of admitting that they've made an error, however minor. I personally would find it easier to warm to him as a person (as a racer he has 110% respect) if he could just go 'mea culpa' and we can then all move on.

I remember the second half of 2008, where he made too many mistakes and would openly admit they were just that. So if the guy says he doesn't know where this came from and it is the same thing as in Qatar, why not believe him? I bet he would rather say it was a mistake than admitting he has no clue at all. The latter is a far more vulnerable statement.

Could it be that Stoner was pushing too hard trying to catch up with the leaders who at that point already had a slight gap. If I'm not mistaken the crash came on the second or third lap. Cold tires? It only takes a few kph extra on cold tires to loose the front. Stoner knew he had the pace to run up front and found himself behind Hayden who did not have the pace to be up front throughout the race. Once he passed Nicky he probably wanted to close the gap too quickly...What happened to the old saying of "let the race/game come to you..." I don't subscribe to the notion of pushing hard from beginning to end. If you look at the data you will see that lap times gradually fall as tires get to optimal temperature and fuel load decreases. To me, you push hard within the limits of the conditions. It's one think to bin it fighting for position and another to crash just trying to establish a rythm.

Whatever it is, Casey keeps falling and those in front do not. Going faster at the end than the beginning is generally a good strategy. He is not faster than Nicky or the other three.He is slower than everyone placing in front of him. Nicky says he was going as fast as he possibly could without falling.Sounds like a good strategy.One that is most certainly being utilised by the top three as well(and Dani,and all of his bike problems). Whatever the reason, Casey is exceeding the limits of the bike,tires ,track etc. at the time .The others are not. I wish him well. I hope he figures it out.He is good guy and a great rider. But enough of the talk(from him and others) about slower riders,and who is on the pace and who is fast and blah ,blah ,blah. Staying in the race,working hard to get through, trying to keep the tires on and getting faster as it goes along. That's fast. Look at the standings. Those are the fast guys.

One thing to consider about the tires. The front tire Bridgestone brought to Le Mans (and Jerez and Qatar too) was identical to the tire they used last year. There have been some updates to the rears (mainly in providing more asymmetrical tires at some tracks), but the fronts are unchanged. With all the development going on with the bikes, the improvements found in front end grip may be pushing beyond the limits of the existing Bridgestones. Interesting that the Hondas have not crashed much, compared to the Yamahas and Ducatis, and Honda is the manufacturer having the most problems with grip and stability at the front end of the bike.

The other factor that was especially important at Le Mans was the weather. Both Dunlop and Bridgestone brought tires they expected to cope with typical Le Mans weather (i.e. cold and damp), but the weather was fantastic. Seeing that over a quarter of the field went down in Moto2, I suspect that the conditions on track were at the limit for the tires, or perhaps at least closer to the limit than expected.

Thanks. That is actually interesting and entirely logical.

One question: do you know when they decide upon the tires and load them up? When I posted the Le Mans race topic on the forum, the 10-day forecast was showing 24-25 degrees and sunny. Did they decide on the tires more than 10 days out? If so and that is typical, how can they possibly ever get the tires right for the conditions? Any forecast more than 10 days out is just a shot in the dark.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

The tires are all moved by surface transport (shipping from Japan, then road transport), and so they are working with a 4-8 week lead time (this is a guess, but I'll check to make sure). Bridgestone's strength is that the tires they make work so well in such a wide range of conditions. Tom Tremayne, the Bridgestone PR guy said the hard tires were well within their operating range (even the softs were still working), but I'm wondering whether the track doesn't behave differently in the warmth. It's a very slippery track, which may be exacerbated by the warmth.

I always believed a control tire made things more fair (and still do), but perhaps this cease in front tire development is the result of bridgestone becoming a little complacent. Without Michelin, Bridgestone doesn't have to worry about getting beat and thus stops pushing to the absolute edge of the envelope.

I don't really subscribe to this thinking because motorcycles have been overpowering/overhandling tire technology forever. The limit IS the tire. Riders need to know the limit, whether they are on this year's compound or last year.

To me, at the very least, Stoner needs to do more laps in practice. Push hard, do some race distances like Jorge. It will give more time to sort out a "strange" issue.

When he continually does these quick hits of 2-3 laps in qualifying and practice, I dont see the value of that. It may have (sort of) worked in the past, but it is a different set of circumstances this year and he needs to shake things up. I think this is the first place I would try it.

Yeah, but wait until Stoner is the only rider not starting from the pits in Valencia because he's the only one that didn't blow through his engine allotment.

Although I agree that obviously he needs to practice riding the bike under all race conditions, there's value in only riding just as much as necessary to get the data you need, i.e. saving your engines and spending less time out on the track rising crashes and injury.

With these silly rules they have I'm all for saving the bike for when it counts, but maybe there's a happy middle ground there somewhere.

A bit off topic but related to your post - 18 races, 3 down, 6 engines per rider. This should mean that we're all on fresh engines for Mugello, if teams are planning an even use programme. It would be interesting to see who is on what # engine etc. David, any knowledge as to whether anyone has used up an engine up to this point?

The only thing I have heard/read is that Colin Edwards stated he has been using two engines up to this point, 2 races on one, and one race on the other. I was surprised that he would divulge such information, as you would think this would be something held pretty close to the chest of all the teams.

Here is the linky to Colin's discussion:

well .. i was wondering if the bridgestones in question were still being manufactured at the salisbury plant, in south australia ... but i see they ceased production in late 2009.

so, the ONLY thing i can say about casey - me being raised in south australia & all - & being a bit of an 'aussie battler' myself is this:

casey fights like MIKE TYSON. this is an obvious concern. casey mate, STOP going for the first round K/O & PLEASE don't bite the ear ... be more like - to coin a UFC parallel - chuck liddell, PICK yr moment & THEN flick the switch!

i LOVE your psych game now - TOTAL rossi - he KNOWS his game is coming up - BUT son, practice on ONLY full fuel loads, if you practice for the WORST scenario, you can always UP the ante & hand those boys their asses! :)

looks like lorenzo is going to be the next rossi to stoner's biaggi.

of course i desire something where casey is more doohan than biaggi, however much i admire #3! casey mate - BIG UP!

please forgive my effusive rant - i am SO wishing casey could be the man - saw him at 2006 laguna seca & he is SO EVIL FAST - he just needs to TEMPER that viciousness! :)