News 19 Jul 2011

Rear grip hampers Stoner at Sachsenring, still leads world title

Stoner battled tyre wear issues all weekend at Sachsenring.

Stoner battled tyre wear issues all weekend at Sachsenring.

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner has cited tyre wear as a major issue as he battled his way to an eventual third place finish at Sachsenring on the weekend, behind Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa.

After starting the race on pole, the Aussie played it safe in the very early stages, slipping to fourth on the first lap.

Anxious to prevent his tyres from overheating – the anti-clockwise circuit places huge stresses on the left side of the tyres – Stoner was planning to save his best for last.

He started moving forward on lap four, passing Pedrosa, then the next lap bettering Dovizioso and Lorenzo to take the lead, but he couldn’t break away.

“We took it easy in the early part of the race and thought we’d try to preserve the tyre and warm it up slower than we did in Mugello,” Stoner commented.

“After a few laps I decided to make a move to the front to see what we could do and we were able to pull a small advantage, but too small compared to the effort we were putting in so I backed off on my pace a little and tried to stay as smooth as possible and see what happens.”

After succumbing the lead to Pedrosa, Stoner looked to hold onto second in the final laps, his tyre preservation tactics not panning out as his struggle with grip as obvious in the left hand turns.

“I made a few small mistakes and that left just Jorge and I for the last few laps. I tried everything I could, riding the cleanest lap possible and trying to block my line, but Jorge came up on the dirty part of the track and I thought it would be too high a risk, but he made it stick and I have to settle for third place,” Stoner stated.

“I’m still leading the Championship and I’m thankful for the points here today.”

Stoner now leads the MotoGP title race by 15 points heading into round ten at Laguna Seca.