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Ducati boss cool despite increasing gap

Casey Stoner during the Catalan GPDucati team boss Livio Suppo is staying calm despite Casey Stoner's gap to championship leaders Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa.

Although Stoner returned to the podium in Spain last Sunday thanks to a third place finish, the Australian saw his main rivals finish ahead of him to stretch their lead in the standings.

The world champion is now 50 points behind Rossi and 43 behind Pedrosa with seven races gone.

Suppo says the gap has increased mainly to bad luck, including Stoner's non-points finish in France.

"For sure most of those points were lost with the problem in France and with some other problems, a bit of bad luck," Suppo told Italia1 television.

"If Casey could have done the races like the one he did today he would be closer. A race like this one, similar to last year's when Casey won ahead of Valentino, is okay when you go this well and this close.

"The problem today was that Dani was a completely different and surprising pace. Congratulations to him and to Michelin, they've done a fine job today. As for Valentino and Casey, the former won the battle today but it's okay."

Stoner has won just one race so far, after clinching 10 victories on his way to the title in 2007.

Ducati's technical chief Filippo Preziosi reckons the Italian squad's rivals have just taken a bigger step forward this season.

"I don't think we lack anything to be like last year, it's just that while we went forward this year, the others have obviously gone further forward than us," he said.

"We are trying to help our riders with their most critical problems. Now we'll see with Casey what the problem was in this race, and we'll work on this.

"Tomorrow (Monday) and on Tuesday we'll try a few new things, among them a chassis. We'll see what they're like."

And Preziosi played down suggestions that the team could introduce next year's bike early in order to return to winning ways.

"I'd say no, it's next year's bike. We need an indication from our riders to understand whether the route we've gone for is right, or otherwise what changes to adopt."

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