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GP Week : Issue 150
Next weekend’s Spanish GP at Jerez and the Portuguese race at Estoril the following weekend will be a crucial test of Casey Stoner’s troublesome wrist. Jerez is described by Brembo’s braking technicians as “one of the most demanding for braking systems,” with two stops recording 1.6g; while Estoril like Qatar has a slow first corner at the end of a long straight. Jerez will be the first test, and although speeds are considerably lower than at Qatar, the all-action circuit has no long straight were riders can relax: the defending champion’s resistance to the arm-pump problem that surfaced at Qatar will be of vital significance to the season ahead. Jerez is a bogey track for Stoner, having never won a race there in any class. At recent tests he explained his dislike, saying: “There’s nowhere you can use the power of a MotoGP bike because you’re always shutting off.” Stoner took a convincing lead in spite of his right arm-pump problem at Qatar, but was ultimately forced to concede the race to Lorenzo’s Yamaha and second place to Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa. He was justifiably proud of his pace in spite of the pain and weakness, but third place was still a dark omen. Jerez and Estoril mark the start of the European season, with races following at one or two-week intervals until the end of July. If the problem recurs and requires surgery, Stoner would almost inevitably miss at least one race. Against a rival as consistent as Lorenzo, the cost might prove irrecoverable. STONER’S WRIST FACES STRONG TEST AT BACK-TO-BACK RACES A4 Advert - A_Layout 1 13/03/12 03:32 Page1 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS