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GP Week : Issue 26
Stoner’s Load CASEY Stoner was surprisingly cheerful after his second race crash in a row. But it was the smile of a man who knows his title chances are over. Not because of two crashes, but because of an irksome wrist injury (see separate story) that emerged during the course of the weekend, and kept on getting worse. It was indirectly responsible for his crash. He’d been so keen to get away because of it. “If I’d have got into a battle, I think it would have been a struggle,” he said. But he denied he had been setting too fast a pace or pushing as hard as he had at Brno. “I was capable of seven tenths faster than what I was doing,” he said. So why crash? “At Brno, the tyre was destroyed on the right side. “Today we tried to do something clever in warm-up. My front tyre takes two or three laps to scrub in, so we did one lap on it to take the scrub off. “It did something to the right- hand side. I kept closing the front end. At the point I fell, I wasn’t even pushing the front end, and it closed too fast. “I wanted to restart, but when I went to pick the bike up, the handlebar snapped,” he added. Even so, he knows how hard it will be to ever beat Valentino, with one hand tied behind his back. 32