Australian Casey Stoner’s disastrous MotoGP World Championship campaign continued at Le Mans’ third round in France on Sunday, crashing out of the race and raising a huge question mark over his championship challenge for 2010.
The result effectively ends Stoner’s title tilt for this season as he now sits 59 points in arrears of runaway series leader Jorge Lorenzo following three rounds, adding another crash to his Qatar fall from round one.
Stoner crashed on lap three at both Qatar and Le Mans, his Jerez result of fifth position being the lone race finish that he has scored so far in the 2010 season.
“I’ve been pushing the front wherever I wanted but for some reason when the race has come around it felt like it was going to fold,” Stoner explained. “It’s something we have to get to the bottom of and we need to do it soon because it is not good to start the season with only one finish from three races.”
Stoner is adamant that he hasn’t changed his style during the off-season, however his previous run of consistency since joining the Ducati Marlboro team is quickly fading.
“I haven’t changed anything with my riding style but if I need to do something then we have to work out what and I can do it,” he continued. “Maybe it’s because when I’m behind slower riders in the race I’m not able to put the same pressure on the front. I’m not sure at the moment, to be honest, so we need to sit down and work out what’s best for the next race.”
Meanwhile, 2006 world champion teammate Nicky Hayden continued his recent run of good form, scoring his third fourth place finish in succession to commence the season.