Casey Stoner's 2010 MotoGP season has been blighted by crashes. Starting at Qatar, where the Australian crashed out while leading the race after dominating throughout practice, Stoner faced a number of front end issues with his Ducati Desmosedici, adding a second crash at Le Mans to his troubles.
Things started to improve from Mugello, where Stoner's side of Marlboro Ducati garage decided to go back to the narrower forks they had used in 2009, and the crashes stopped happening. This still left Stoner struggling with front end grip though, and unable to find a setup that he felt comfortable enough with to push at the front.
That all changed at Aragon: Casey Stoner's team finally found the solution they had been chasing, and since making those changes to the bike, Stoner has gone on to win three out of four races, dominating in eerily familiar form. Only an early race crash at Sepang prevented Stoner from making it four in a row, the Australian doing penance by destroying the rest of the field at his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
So what caused this turnaround? What changed between Misano and Aragon, that allowed the Australian to shine once again? After the race at the Motorland Aragon circuit, Stoner explained to journalists what changes had been made to the setup of his Marlboro Ducati that had made the transformation possible. The team had identified Stoner's reconstructed wrist as the cause of the problems, and adjusted the bike accordingly, Stoner explained.
"Basically, I don't have the mobility in my wrist after the bone graft," Stoner told journalists. "[The bone graft has]completely locked my wrist in a lot of areas, and I can't get the same movement that I can on the other one for the inside of the corner."
The solution, Stoner explained, was to change Stoner's seating position on the bike. "We just put my weight further forward so I don't have to do it physically like I used to. I used to maybe go into a corner, get myself a little bit further forward, get the weight over it. Now we've just done this setup-wise." The change had literally made Stoner more comfortable on the bike, having reduced the stress on the Australian's shoulder, he explained. "It's actually taken a lot of weight off my shoulder. Normally, my shoulder really hurts during the end of every session. After every race, my left shoulder is just destroyed. And [Aragon] is a left-hand track with a lot of left-hand braking points, and I didn't have any problems."
The team had moved Stoner slightly further back, but stretching him out at the same time. "I've basically lengthened from the beginning of the tank to the handlebars, they're further away as well. By doing that, stretching me out a little bit, but at the same time, putting my weight forward, it's balanced me out quite well."