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Stoner expecting Assen/Barcelona-like fatigue at Laguna

Stoner expecting Assen/Barcelona-like fatigue at Laguna

Third in Friday’s free practice session, Casey Stoner was frank about his continued lack of fitness when talking after the run-out.

2007 racewinner Casey Stoner opened up this year’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend with the third fastest time of the first free practice session, with a 1’22.170 lap of the Laguna Seca circuit belying his still-fragile physical state. The Australian has been battling a mystery virus over the past pair of races and, unfortunately for the Ducati man, is predicting just as hard a fight this Sunday.

“The bike’s working well, which is once again a disappointment for me because I don’t think that we can really keep up for the race this weekend,” a downbeat Stoner acknowledged on Friday afternoon.

“Everything’s been working well these past three races, and I feel like we should have been fighting at the front -even if we finished in the same positions. It looks like it’s going to be a similar weekend to the last two, but at least this time we are kind of expecting it, whereas at Assen I thought that all my problems were over.”

Stoner was experiencing fatigue as early as the midway point of the session, causing him to make running modifications to his riding style in order to conserve his energy. In order to maintain his endurance for the session, the former MotoGP World Champion is having to make sacrifices to his lap strategy.

“Braking is one of the hardest points for me at the moment. I’m taking the corners however I can at the moment, which is what you do when you get fatigued. My braking points are getting way too early though, so it all just combines to give a slower lap time,” he lamented, before giving credit to those who he believes have been the driving force behind his recent podium damage limitation.

“For me it’s been the bike these past two races. If it wasn’t working so well I wouldn’t have been on the podium. The bike can still do quick lap times even when I’m backing off.”

MotoGP, 2009, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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