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Stoner plays down victory chances after taking pole

Stoner plays down victory chances after taking pole

Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was playing it cool after qualifying in pole position at the Iveco Australian Grand Prix.

Former World Champion Casey Stoner was playing down his victory chances at Phillip Island on Saturday after taking pole at his home event by just a 0.05s margin from Valentino Rossi.

Instead of getting overexcited about heading the gird on the day after his 24th birthday, in front of his home fans, the pragmatic Australian was more concerned about an ongoing rear grip problem on corner exits which hindered him on Friday and was not solved on day two of the GP.

“We don’t have the same grip levels that we have had the last two years here,” Stoner explained. “With the stiffer chassis which we have now it works very well at some circuits but not so well at others. So we have lost that advantage.”

He continued, “We definitely have more corner speed but we are spinning a lot as we come out of corners and we can’t get it to hook up so we’re working a lot on the rear end. We’ve shortened the bike, we’ve changed some of the pivot positions, we’ve dropped the riding height, all sorts of things, but we are still searching for something for tomorrow. The warm-up session is going to be very important.”

On the hype of continuing his comeback from illness at his home race, Stoner remained unmoved about matters, concluding, “It would be nice to win but if you get too hopeful of things they normally don’t happen. So we’re just going to see what we can do, try to play it as smart as we can in the race and come home and finish it. Then if we win obviously that is fantastic.”

MotoGP, 2009, Iveco AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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