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Stoner condition shaping up worse than expected

Stoner condition shaping up worse than expected

Ducati Marlboro rider disappointed by lack of peak wrist fitness.

A first test since surgery on his injured scaphoid was always going to be a moment of truth for Casey Stoner, who had admitted a few weeks ago that he was unsure as to whether he would be at 100% for the three-day stay in Sepang. The Australian showed on Thursday that he has lost none of his need for speed over the course of three months out of action, although there was frustration for the former MotoGP World Champion at the physical discomfort experienced on his comeback.

“This morning was really difficult, I really didn’t feel comfortable on the bike. My wrist is still in a lot of pain and I honestly hoped it would be in better shape than this after three months since the operation,” said Stoner after 34 laps of the Malaysian circuit –the fastest of which was a 2’02.038.

“Even though the lap times were good from the start the wrist was still giving me a lot of problems – it is weak and painful under braking, especially in the first left-hand turn. I can’t do more than four or five laps at a time and there’s nothing I can do about that at the moment, other than hope that it improves over time.

“Sepang is a physically demanding circuit and probably not the best place to be riding for the first time after three months out. I preferred not to ride too much and tire myself out and hopefully it will already be a bit better tomorrow. Freddy, our physiotherapist, has a bit of work to do tonight!”

Stoner’s last appearance at a MotoGP test was as in the capacity of spectator back in November, overseeing new Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden’s work with the Desmosedici GP9. Back in the saddle on a bike developed around his feedback, he continues to have confidence in the machine’s potential.

“The GP9 is running well and I have the same positive feeling as the last two tests at Barcelona and Valencia. The chassis is completely different and we’ll have to work on improving the set-up but we have a good starting point and we can use the GP8 as a reference,” says the 2008 World Championship runner-up. “The power delivery has improved and now we have more torque, which helps on the exit of the slower corners. Bridgestone have brought two compounds here that both work well, although I prefer the harder one because even though it is a little more difficult to ride it guarantees a more consistent performance.”

Stoner has previously made clear that he expects to be at full fitness come the start of the MotoGP season on April 12th.

MotoGP, 2009, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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