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Stoner battling through illness in Brno

Stoner battling through illness in Brno

An unspecified illness is making things difficult for Casey Stoner in Brno, although the Australian still managed to top the timesheets on Friday.

The fastest rider of the day at Brno, things would appear from the timesheets to be going well for 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner. However, the Ducati Marlboro rider´s continued strong form is made all the more impressive by the fact that he is suffering from an unspecified illness, resulting in fever and abdominal cramp.

Stoner was filmed slumped in the Ducati garage on a pair of occasions during the second free practice session, expending as little energy as possible and preparing for another short stint on track.

`Unfortunately I´ve not been feeling well for a few days and I felt very weak today - I even felt sapped of energy just putting my gloves on. I can deal with a bit of tiredness but this afternoon I could only ride a handful of laps before I started to feel cramps in my stomach,´ said Stoner before heading off for some rest.

`That doesn´t help my crew, because I've not been able to put many consecutive laps together and this morning wasn´t too good for us, we struggled to find the right set-up for this new surface,´ he added, referring to the other big problem that he will face this weekend. The Brno track layout remains the same, but the asphalt has been completely re-laid for 2008.

`To look at you´d think it would be smooth on the tyres but it´s actually quite aggressive, particularly on the front. This afternoon we went with a harder compound front tyre - similar to what we used at Laguna and Sachsenring, which is about the hardest we´ve got - and we had to work on the geometry to get the most effective load on the front tyre. The guys improved the bike every time I came in so it was frustrating not to be able to put it all together with a long run. We still have a lot of work to do so hopefully I´ll feel better tomorrow and the weather holds out for us.´

Stoner took victory at Brno from pole position last year. His best time at present on the new surface is a 1´57.231, nearly two-tenths of a second faster than title rival and current series leader Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP, 2008, CARDION AB GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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