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Stoners celebrations temporarily on hold

Stoners celebrations temporarily on hold

After Casey Stoners hard-fought third place finish at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal his World title celebrations were temporarily put on hold as Fiat Yamahas Valentino Rossi scored his first victory since Assen in June.

After Casey Stoners hard-fought third place finish at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal his World title celebrations were temporarily put on hold as Fiat Yamahas Valentino Rossi scored his first victory since Assen in June.

Had he scored 16 points or more than Rossi at Estoril Stoner would have clinched the title at round 14 of the 2007 World Championship, but in the event the Ducati Marlboro riders lead was cut by nine points as he had to settle for third due to a small clutch problem which hindered his efforts.

Nonetheless the 21 year-old still has a 76 point advantage at the head of the general standings with four races to go after securing a fourth consecutive podium finish and his 11th top three result of the year. If he can ensure that Rossi does not score more points than him this weekend in Japan will become the new MotoGP World Champion.

Stoner led the first five laps at Estoril but then had some trouble with the clutch on his Ducati Desmosedici GP7 and slipped to third place, but kept his cool to ride around the problem and then close the gap on leaders Rossi and Dani Pedrosa during the final stages eventually crossing the line just 1.477s down on The Doctor.

After the race the ever pragmatic Stoner commented: ´We thought we had a pretty good set-up, but unfortunately I started having a problem with the clutch about five laps into the race. There was no engine braking so I couldn´t try and brake as late as the other guys without running wide into the turns. It was very difficult to manage the situation and it took me quite a few laps to learn to ride around the problem.´

´I needed a few more tenths to get on to the back of them but I wasn´t to be, we lost too much time at the beginning. Anyway, I gave my all and the team has done another fantastic job all weekend. We´ve been fast, we had a little problem today, but I think we can come back again next weekend.´

Livio Suppo, the Ducati MotoGP project director added: ´I´m very sorry for the little clutch problem that prevented Casey from fighting for victory, because he has been fast all weekend and deserved to be up front. Anyway, his talent allowed him to ride around the problem and after a few laps he was very fast again, so this is another race in which he has proven he´s a real champion. I´m happy that we saw a big battle today, I´m just sorry that Casey wasn´t able to be there.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Casey Stoner

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