Casey Stoner Post-Race Debrief: "I've Got To Get Results"
Q: What happened at the start.
CS: Ask my technician that, because it wasn't my fault.
Q: You weren't in second gear!
CS: No, the bike jumped and shuddered and shook, and it sounded like the bike basically exploded off the start, nearly stalled the thing and just started going horribly, and managed to keep it going. Got into the first turn and got shoved around and pushed around, and really spat out the back door.
I'm a little disappointed, because it would have been an easy second, maybe even battle with Jorge for the win, but I would have had to push for that.
Q: Did you have some more trouble with the clutch during the race?
CS: A couple of times when I went to change from first to second in the middle of the chicane. You sort of come out, back off, and then click into second, but it went into neutral. That was a bit strange, but that wasn't a big issue, I was still running corner speed, so I only lost a tenth or two. But off the start, yeah, it was a huge issue. I'm a little bit disappointed with that, but at least we had the speed, we had a set up that I was fairly happy with. Could have done with a lot more grip, but braking points and everything, we were really happy with.
Q: Was the soft tire the right choice, do you think?
CS: Well, we would have preferred to be running the hard tire, but we weren't able to generate the temperature all weekend, so if we'd run the hard tire and cloud cover had come over, we would have been pretty much screwed. We couldn't generate the heat.
A soft tire isn't soft, it's just softer than the hard compound. It's probably the hardest compound we had a couple of years ago. But there were no issues with it, it was quite consistent throughout the race, so it's no problem.
Q: Five races and no podium: Did you ever think that would happen?
CS: Not really, but every race we should have podiumed at or had a chance of winning, things haven't gone right, so. I'm not too worried, there were three out of five races that we had a very good shot at, a chance of winning to be honest, but it's just not working out at the moment. We've still got a long season, still got a lot of races to win.
Q: You think you've solved the front end problems you had earlier?
CS: I mean the bike's completely different, I feel confident again with the front. But we didn't think we had issues, until it suddenly just folded and there was no way to get it back. Every time I fold this front end, with these forks, it's easy to pick it back up again. But we had no problems and I didn't fold the front once in the race, it felt good, felt confident. I just had a problem going into the last part on the brakes. Last part of the corner and the entry, I really had to have a lot of pressure on the front tire, because as soon as I went in there, I actually didn't have enough strength to put it on at the end and I started running wide. We were sitting too high in the stroke at the last part of the corner, but in general, the bike was working pretty well, so was the front end.
Q: It looks like Lorenzo is having a good run. Today, you were probably the only one who could have matched his pace, he said that as well.
CS: It was the same at Le Mans, you know? There was only myself and Jorge who were able to run the laptimes, and Dani had a couple of crashes. One crash, and Dani gets a little bit nervous; two crashes is pretty much game over for the weekend.
For sure Dani had the pace to do better. When I was behind him today, there was nothing wrong with what he was doing, he just wasn't really pushing hard. But after a couple of crashes of course your confidence gets knocked. I had the same problems, so. But yes, he should have been able to run with Jorge if it hadn't been for those couple of crashes.
Q: Are you more disappointed about what happened at the start of the race, or happy with the way you came back from last position?
CS: To be honest, we've only had one bad race this year, and that was Mugello. I know it was the best result of the year, but it was our worst race, we never had the pace all weekend. Every other race we've had the pace. In Jerez, we struggled with losing the front end and had to back off just a little bit due to confidence, but in general every race except Mugello, we've been there or thereabouts.
So it's no different, we haven't had the results we need at the moment, but I think for sure, without arm pump, we still would have been able to get on the podium. But we had an issue that we've never had before and it shouldn't be a cause. We're pretty sure we've figured out what it was.
Q: Apart from the result, you are a little bit happy for the result, for the feeling with the bike?
CS: I didn't expect the pace to be so fast in the race, but everyone upped the pace in the race, and I think the weather sort of helped. But this morning warm up, we knew we had a pretty good setup, we just changed a few small things for the race, but yeah, we knew we had a setting that we could run with the front guys. We made a big step this morning, and I'm pretty happy with the way things are going.
Q: And you hope you will find the same feeling at Assen?
CS: Like I've said, every race this year except Mugello, we've been there or thereabouts, so we should be able to find the pace at Assen, but we'll have to wait to get there to see.
Q: Why was it so hard to get past Dani?
CS: Acceleration. You know, I'm coming out of the corners, and Barbera went past me like I was standing still today, and he's on the same bike, he outdid me there. And Dani, all he does is square off the corners, I'm too far to make a late charge on the brakes. I was struggling on the brakes because of my arm pump, and you know it was hard work. Everyone had a hard time getting past Dani, you know? A lot of people were stuck behind him today. He punches out of corners hard, and there's no way you can get close, so. That'll be the reason.
Q: You mentioned arm pump again, has that been a problem all weekend?
CS: All weekend, yes. We've been struggling with it a bit. It's the first time, other than Laguna last year, where I was tired and things weren't going right for us. I've never had arm pump in my life during roadracing, so it was the first time I've ever had it, and I struggled round with it a little bit today. The cool weather definitely didn't help, but there was another factor that we kind of realized over the whole weekend, and we should be OK.
Q: I know it's a question that you riders don't like, but looking at Lorenzo's advantage in the championship, it looks like it's going to be pretty easy.
CS: I've said I'm not part of this championship for a while now, so it's not my department to talk about. I've got to get myself further up in the standings, and I'm not doing any justice at the moment, so. For me the championship's out of the question, and I've just to get some results.
Q: To go back to the arm pump, you said there was another factor. Are you referring to diet, or is it something else?
CS: No, just, something trivial. I don't know how to explain it... Basically, my undersuit that I wore, I had three new ones for the weekend, I wore three new ones. They're tighter on the arms than they've ever been... Big deal …
Found out what they are, but only after the race. With this cool weather, blowing on your arm, and with being under a little bit more pressure than usual, you normally need everything. as loose as you can. It was a silly mistake, and it wasn't something I really think about. You know it wasn't a lot of pressure, but just a slight bit too much for the track.
Q: Are you concerned, because Assen is in six days?
CS: I'd be fine to ride tomorrow. Arm pump's not like that, once you've got rid of it, it's gone. You're alright again in the next session. The arm pump was just in my right. It wasn't helped by this being a right hand track, a lot of corners that you're picking it up going from the right to the left, always picking it up, picking it up, and it just started getting sore.
Q: From a poor start, you were able to come right through. What is it about the track that allows that to happen? I mean, somewhere like Valencia, the opposite happens.
CS: The riders in the front were slower, riders got stuck behind. I saw Ben and Simoncelli getting stuck behind Dani, the other riders sort of went away at the front. The other riders obviously weren't as fast, and yes, they just came back to everyone. It was this race, rather than the circuit.