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Stoner slides out of Brno lead as Melandri clinches encouraging seventh

Stoner slides out of Brno lead as Melandri clinches encouraging seventh

Casey Stoner was unable to turn his sixth successive pole position into a podium at Brno on Sunday.

Disappointment was the word after Casey Stoner relinquished a one-second advantage over Valentino Rossi and crashed out of the twelfth round of the season in the Czech Republic on Sunday afternoon.

It is the first time the reigning World Champion has not made it to the chequered flag after thirty races, since signing for Ducati at the start of 2007, and it leaves him fifty points behind the Italian rider with six races remaining.

Marco Melandri, meanwhile, who started from the fourth row of the grid, put together an impressive charge through the field to finish in seventh place - his second best result of the season.

Marco Melandri - seventh

`The first ten laps were really difficult because I got a bad start and I didn´t have a good feeling. I couldn´t push the bike on the way in or the way out of corners because it wasn´t hooking up and it felt nervous. Gradually as the fuel load lightened and the tyres got up to temperature the grip improved and became more precise. I managed to improve my pace lap by lap and caught the group ahead of me, then made some passes. It´s a shame I lost more than ten seconds over the opening laps because we could have had a really good result today.´

Casey Stoner - DNF

`Obviously we are all disappointed with this result because our pace in practice was good, everything went very well this morning and we felt we could push out in front. Things were going according to plan until the crash. I was doing the same lap time over and over and I was quite happy with the pace I was running. The crash came out of the blue, that corner was an easy one but I lost the front and it happened very quickly, very suddenly and I didn't manage to save it. It´s a hard one to explain and we will look at the data but sometimes this kind of crash happens at this level of racing and it was my mistake! We knew that we needed to win this race - and more - in order to close down Valentino´s advantage so this makes the championship very difficult for us. Anything can happen in racing but fifty points is a big gap against such a strong and consistent competitor. Anyway I never throw in the towel, nor does anybody at Ducati, and we will keep fighting until the end.´

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

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