News 10 Aug 2009

MotoGP: Stoner to sit out next three races, replaced by Kallio

Australia’s 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner has been ruled out of the next three rounds of this year’s MotoGP World Championship, the 23-year-old returning to action at the beginning of October for the Grand Prix of Portugal.

Stoner has suffered physical problems since the Catalunya GP, which have caused him severe fatigue during the last five races, deciding to sit out the upcoming three races in order to rest after being advised by his Australian doctors to rest during what has been one of the most difficult periods in his career.

“After five extremely difficult races due to my health, I returned to Australia to visit the sports doctors who have looked after me for many years. We have taken the difficult decision not to contest the next three rounds of the championship, to allow my body time to recover from the recent stress. The doctors believe that during the Barcelona race I was suffering from a virus, and, that I subsequently pushed my body too hard, leading to problems that have caused my fatigue since then,” Stoner explained.

“The doctors are continuing with many tests to try to understand these problems and make sure it does not happen again. I have spoken with Ducati and thank them for their understanding at this time. I feel very sorry for the factory, my team, my sponsors and the fans and I am also disappointed because the bike in the last races has been very competitive. I will be doing everything possible to come back at full strength for Portugal.”

Finnish rider Mika Kallio will join Nicky Hayden in the Ducati Marlboro Team for the next three races, joining the factory squad for the first time in his debut MotoGP season, while Italian Michel Fabrizio will ride in place of Kallio on the Pramac Racing sattelite Ducati.

“When I took the call I could hardly believe it, but then I talked to my manager and I realised it was true,” beamed Kallio. “I am proud to be racing the next three events with the Ducati Marlboro Team. Obviously I’m not expecting to suddenly be a second quicker, because our bikes are very similar to the official machines, but I hope to be able to pick up some good results for the team.”

Stoner’s decision leaves Australian fans to cheer for Queenslander Chris Vermeulen as our lone MotoGP hopeful, the Rizla Suzuki rider eager to score a good result at the Czech Republic circuit.