Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 10 views remaining

You have read 10 stories this month. After 20, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 20 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.

Andrew Van de Burgt
Editor in Chief

autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
MOTOGP NEWS 

Stoner denies career under threat

Casey StonerFormer MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has dismissed speculation that his career is under threat from the mystery illness that has forced him to take a break from the sport and says he is determined to return in time for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Ducati is about to embark on its second race weekend without Stoner, following the 23-year-old's self-imposed three-race break to try and shake the post-viral fatigue doctors say has stricken him down this season.

The sabbatical has prompted speculation over the 18-time grand prix winner's long-term future, but Stoner has strongly refuted such suggestions.

"I haven't lost my love for bikes and racing," he told Motosprint this week. "And neither for Ducati. My plan is to return to racing as soon as I get my energy back.

"The objective is still to race in Portugal."

Stoner says he has no plans to walk away from the sport: "I would like to carry on racing for a few more years, because racing a bike is what I hope to be doing as soon as possible. I just need to recover and to get back to a level of form that allows me to do that well."

He admits however that he felt compelled to stop now and recover, and admitted that he had been frustrated by his condition: "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.

"It was a really bad feeling for me, to realise that while I was riding my bike, while I was racing and fighting against my rivals, I was really pushing to the maximum, I was giving it my all, but there was nothing I could do to avoid those results I don't like. They are not up to my usual level of performance.

"This [break] was the only possibility I could see. I convinced myself that I had to detach myself, for a short time but completely, from what I was doing: I had to disconnect from racing.

"The most frustrating thing is being unable to ride my bike perfectly. It's bad for me, for the team, for Ducati. This situation is difficult for everyone.

"I can make shift and manage injuries, but I can't manage something I don't know."

Stoner believes that his condition has been provoked by pushing himself beyond his physical limits this season. "I'm certainly not the first athlete to do that," he said. "I have got to the point that I need rest, because the fatigue has become too much to recover as quickly as it should.

"I can't come to terms with the fact that I can't ride to the best of my abilities. The Desmosedici is capable of winning, but I'm not. At least not at the moment. That's why I've taken this break: I want to rest, I want to find again the energy to go back doing what I used to do before with this bike."

Stoner's father and manager, Colin, says that his son's break from the sport is already beginning to show signs of having worked.

"It's been positive, and in fact there are already positive signs, recovery signs, just for having rested a bit and for having completely reviewed the nutrition and preparation programmes," he said.

"He is following a program designed to allow him to rest completely without thinking of the races. On top of that he is on a different diet and he takes some medicines."

"Casey's objective is to return in Estoril. The only thing that could change this programme would be a worsening of his physical conditions, but that would be completely unexpected.

"If everything goes well, Casey will be back for the final races and then he will rest at the end of the season, since after the Valencia test he will have the possibility of a rather long winter break, before coming back in good form in 2010."

  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Full MotoGP coverage on autosport.com
Read Toby Moody's latest 'Out of the box' column
  RELATED STORIES
Stoner: Illness is no longer an issue
Stoner: Illness never threatened career
Ducati confirms Stoner return at Estoril
Pasini thrilled after Ducati test
Pasini to test works Ducati at Mugello
Ducati expects stronger Stoner
Hayden dismisses Stoner future rumour
Schwantz questions Stoner's decision
Pasini rules out racing for Pramac in 09
Pasini to test for Pramac on Monday
Kallio relishing Ducati opportunity
Stoner suffering from extreme fatigue
Fabrizio looking forward to return
Stoner to miss next three races
Stoner hopes for new fitness solution
Q & A with Casey Stoner
Stoner hopes for better run at Donington
Stoner still 'lost' over illness
Stoner diagnosed with mild anaemia
Stoner set for further medical tests
Illness strikes Stoner again in practice
Stoner still baffled by illness
Stoner suffers repeat of race sickness
Haymarket