Q & A with Casey Stoner

Casey Stoner's season has become dominated by the illness that has held him back in races for nearly two months now

Q & A with Casey Stoner

When he spoke in the press conference ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, his health remained the major topic of conversation, along with his thoughts on Donington Park as it prepares to say farewell to MotoGP.

Q. Tough times for you at the moment...

Casey Stoner: It's frustrating more than anything, because it came at a period when we'd found some solutions on the bike that had definitely been improving a lot of things. We're just going to have to wait and see - when we get rid of this thing, whatever it is, we can start to be a little bit happier towards the end of the race.

The last one at the Sachsenring was a lot more enjoyable for me, I had a lot more fun and was at least watching the fight rather than seeing it from a 10s gap. I was able to hang in there a little bit more in the last one, but I think a lot of that was due to the weather being very, very kind to me.

We'll just have to see what we're capable of this weekend. We know this place can keep you nice and cool at the worst of times, so we hope to be somewhere near where we were at the Sachsenring.

Q. You really don't know until the Sunday how you're going to feel do you?

CS: We have a fair idea now of when it's going to go away, because in these races I've always felt okay, but not great. Before a race weekend I used to feel great. Now going into the race weekends I feel very mediocre, very average, and we don't feel like we've got a lot of give in me.

When things start to feel right, that's when you feel good going into the weekend. You feel excited, you really want to get out there. You feel strong, and I haven't felt that in a while.

When you ride when you're sick it's normally not such a big issue. You know what you have - a head cold or something - and it doesn't affect you when you get on the track. This one doesn't affect me off-track, it affects me on-track, so it's a lot more frustrating, especially not knowing what it is.

These last races, the bike's been working so well, we should have been battling at least, even if we finished in the same position, I should have been a lot closer.

Q. It seems like a long time since your debut at Donington in 125cc, but you really did cut your teeth in British racing.

CS: From day one I don't think I've ever liked this track. We've never really enjoyed this circuit. I remember when I first came here the only part of the track I liked was the Esses down to the last two hairpins. That was about it, because you could back it in a little bit going in. The rest of the track, for me, was just a lot of hard work and not a lot of fun.

But to be honest, since I got on a MotoGP bike it's been a little bit more exciting. But still it's very hard work this track. Being near the airport, the track in the wet is unbelievably slippery, so you've really got to be on your toes every lap at this track and make sure you don't make any mistakes.

Q. You seem to have a love/hate relationship with the British fans.

CS: It's been the same since I was racing in the British Championship. I had all sorts of excuses made that I was cheating, that our bike was this and that. It's been the same since day one when I came over here. We've got a lot of friends over here in the UK but we've got a heck of a lot more enemies for some reason.

I did cut my teeth in these championships and that was very helpful for me. I don't think I would have succeeded trying to grow up in road racing in Australia, it's not substantial enough. The British scene was definitely a big help to me to get where I am now. It's nice when we come back here and see some old friends that we haven't seen for a long time. We'll just see what we can do this weekend.

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