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GP Week : Issue 12
M oto GP news >> MYSTERY surrounds the breakdown that spoiled Casey Stoner’s 100th Grand Prix – but while the reason remained secret, it was enough for the Ducati team to pack up early and abandon further tests on the second day at Le Mans. Stoner had started the race strongly, but in the later stages had suddenly dropped out of the battle for the rostrum, touring to the pits to switch to his spare bike, set up with unsuitable wet-weather tyres. His subsequent finish in 16th preserved a perfect finishing record with Ducati, but was his first time out of the points since he joined the Italian factory last year. After the race, the defending World Champion revealed few details, because he didn’t know any, pointing out that while on a two-stroke you might have an idea what went wrong, a four-stroke was altogether more mysterious. He first felt bottom-end performance drop away, then struggled even to finish the lap, having to push the bike the last hundred metres or so. At that point, he had no choice but to switch to his spare b ike, on wet tyres, for a downbeat finish two laps down. The Ducati teamsters were still investigating over the next two days, finally coming up with data analysis that enabled them to “single out the component that caused the breakdown to Stoner’s engine”, according to a statement. All further testing was cancelled “in order to avoid further damage to other engines”, and they returned to Italy to correct the problem. Stoner’s Ducati failure remains a mystery 13