Stoner left to rue disastrous start
|By Simon Strang||Sunday, June 20th 2010, 13:43 GMT|
Casey Stoner was left to rue a disastrous start which dropped the Australian to the back of the field at the beginning of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, as he watched title rival Jorge Lorenzo romp to victory and extend his championship lead.
The Ducati rider ran into problems with his clutch release off the grid, starting from the inside of the second row, and was forced to race through the field to an eventual fifth place.
"As I started releasing the clutch the bike just started jumping and I nearly stalled the thing," the 24-year-old told the BBC. "That was pretty much it for the start."
Stoner admitted that he had remained concerned about his weekend-long tyre heating issues right up to the start of the race and had gambled on going to the grid with a brand new set in a last-ditch effort to avoid the problem in the race.
"I went in to the first turn and tried to go in there easy - because we are not generating heat in the tyres this weekend so we decided to go on the grid with a brand new set and I had only scrubbed them on the sighting lap.
"I was a little bit nervous and cautious on those first couple of laps making sure the tyres were up to temperature and just struggled to get by people really."
Stoner made a race of it, but revealed afterwards that passing rivals had proved problematic for a number of reasons: "We struggled a bit with speed today. Fuel consumption-wise we are a little bit tight here and so we had to knock it back a bit so I was struggling to get close enough to people to outbrake them.
"And then after about lap four or five I started get really bad arm pump and had to learn the bike in a different way," he added.
Stoner remains confident that he can turn his season around starting next weekend at Assen, but admitted that he considered Silverstone a missed opportunity as he now faces the task of clawing back an 80-point deficit to Lorenzo.
"It seems to be way this season has gone for us you know," he said. "Every time I've had an opportunity to get a decent result or a podium, we've stuffed it or I've stuffed it. I've got to rethink my strategy a bit. We know we've got the speed and we should have been pretty much up there with Jorge I think. But we weren't and we are going to have wait until next week.
"Today was a nice experience, we were a lot quicker than a lot of the guys in front of us and it should have been a different race today.
"That's the way things go and I'm going to have to live with it and wait until next week."