Friday, October 26

THROUGH THE PAIN BARRIER


By MICHAEL ESDAILE


DESPITE the pain in his re-built right foot, Casey Stoner was in sparkling early form at Phillip Island this morning.  In just four flying laps he was lapping in the low 1m 31s range, 1.2 seconds clear of second fastest man, Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Stoner then sat in his pit garage talking with his crew chief for some time while the other riders tried to match his pace.  When they got close, Stoner rolled back out, did a warm-up lap then let rip with a 1m 30.374s effort, not far off Nicky Hayden’s 2008 lap record of 1:30.059s, set in the last year of tyre competition on a Michelin-shod Honda 800cc V4.

Stoner then posted four more laps in the 1m 30s bracket before the session ended.  Second fastest was MotoGP Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo with a 1m 31.279s effort, 0.905 seconds off Stoner’s time with Pedrosa third fastest in 1m 31.533s then Andrea Dovizioso on 1m 31.968s, Alvaro Bautista on 1m 32.039s.  For the full set of MotoGP Practice times click here 


“It is the last time I’m going to be racing here,” Stoner said.  “There are only two races left in the season, and in my career, so it has been built up to be a very big weekend.  I am still going to attack it as I have done always.  In some ways it is no different to me than any other weekend except that I do really enjoy this track.  I love it!