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GP Week : Issue 66
Stoner proves the critics wrong CASEY Stoner is back -- and seemingly in fine health. GPWeek, along with the rest of the Press, has spent the last ten weeks wondering whether the absent and silent Casey Stoner's mystery illness -- which may still be a case of ME, or post-viral stress syndrome -- might signal the end of his career. Perhaps he now owes us all a debt of gratitude. Proving the media wrong was clearly a powerful motivating force in his sensational second-placed recovery. The 2006 World Champion still has no answer from doctors as to what caused his near-crippling fatigue problems -- and looks like he doesn't need one any more. Even on Friday his position was not clear. He was quick -- fourth in the first free practice -- but he'd missed a big chunk of the session getting the bike readjusted to fit, and was suffering arm-pump and muscle fatigue. When he said he expected it all to get better with more miles, it sounded like wishful thinking. By Sunday, that was no longer the case. The drama came from elsewhere. "We might have put up more of a fight early in the race, but on the second lap I made a small mistake at the right kink, and my right foot came off and as it hit the tarmac it spat back up and broke the footrest, so that kept folding up during the race. It was a little difficult for a couple of laps but then I got used to it," he said. Then he added with a broad grin: "I'm really happy to get this result ... and silence the critics." We consider ourselves well and truly silenced. 38