Casey Stoner has finally spoken out on his forced absence from the MotoGP paddock. In an exclusive interview with the Italian magazine MotoSprint, he spoke of his frustration at not being able to ride the the best of his ability, about his illness and about his recovery. The authoratitive website Autosport.com has a comprehensive summary of the interview in English, in which Stoner had some very interesting things to say about his condition.
Stoner had felt forced to stop racing after he was no longer recovering from the draining effort that racing a MotoGP bike for 45 minutes requires. That difficulty almost drove the Australian to despair, and forcing him to rethink what he was doing. "At one point I started having a bad feeling: I felt vulnerable, and I found myself in the position of someone doing something he hates. It's like finding yourself doing a job you can't stand, but that you have to do anyway," he told MotoSprint. The worst thing for Stoner was the feeling that however hard he felt he was trying, he was incapable of competing. He knew that he was able to match the speed of his rivals, but he simply could not sustain it for long enough, ending up off the podium at races he felt he should be able to win.
The Australian is now on the road to recovery, however. According to MotoSprint, Stoner has changed his diet and his training regime, and initial results seemed to show it is paying off. According to Stoner's father and manager Colin, Stoner is recovering more quickly from training, and should be able to return to racing at Estoril, as planned.
When asked for the cause of the problems, Casey Stoner pointed to the effort it takes to compete at this level, and the willingness of athletes at the very pinnacle of their sport to push themselves beyond their own physical boundaries. "I'm certainly not the first athlete to do that," he told MotoSprint. "I have got to the point that I need rest, because the fatigue has become too much to recover as quickly as it should."
Stoner believes that a break was his only option. He spoke of "detaching himself from racing" as the only option for recovery, as the stress of competing while still unwell was making it impossible for him to get back to being competitive. Now that he has taken a complete break, however, he should soon be back, and ready to compete at the very front again. "I haven't lost my love for bikes and racing," he said. "And neither for Ducati. My plan is to return to racing as soon as I get my energy back."