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Stoner fined $1000 after qualifying mistake

Stoner fined $1000 after qualifying mistake

Stoner fined $1000 after qualifying mistake

LCR Honda rider Casey Stoner has commented on the decision to fine him USD$1000 for an accidental baulking in qualifying, labeling it an unfair punishment for an honest mistake. The last lap incident, in which Dani Pedrosa's attempt to improve his position saw him come across Stoner on his slow down lap, left the Spaniard fuming, although tempers were calmed after the Australian made the mature move of going immediately to Pedrosa's pit garage to offer his apologies.

It would be unfair if the incident were to overshadow the LCR Honda rider's fine qualifying performance, which put him on the second row for tomorrow's Grande Premio de Portugal. Stoner was on provisional pole for 45 minutes of the one hour session using race tyres. His fastest lap of 1'36.702 was just 0.5s off Valentino Rossi's pole position time. Stoner has been consistently fast during free practice sessions at a sunny and warm Estoril and the LCR Honda RC211V was the fastest bike through the speed trap at 327 kph.

"I made an honest mistake and I went to Dani and apologised but I still got fined USD$1,000 and I think it is very unfair. I know what I did wrong -- I just didn't think Dani and the other riders would catch me so fast on my slow down lap," explained Stoner after the session. " I've never been charged for any bad riding in the past and now, after just one mistake, I get a fine. Apart from this, everything else has been going very well, we've just made small changes to the bike and I'm very comfortable at this track. I've come here with a relaxed attitude and feeling no pressure." Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello also sided with his rider after the announcement that he was to be fined.

"What happened between Casey and Dani was not deliberate, it's a mistake that can happen, just a misunderstanding. For sure Dani was penalised by this problem but Casey went to him in a very professional manner and apologised. For the race, we are very confident , Casey has been impressively fast and consistent in race set-up."


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