Ducati Marlboro Team take their good team performance from Laguna Seca to Germany this weekend as they prepare for an even tougher challenge than usual.
Whilst the recent progress made with the GP9 allowed Casey Stoner to finish at the foot of the podium
despite being physically drained and Nicky Hayden to score his best result of the season so far in his home Grand Prix, now the Australian is faced with another battle against his own physical condition, which were confirmed at Laguna Seca as being far from ideal, and the American must back up his improved form and show that development is on the right lines.
“We have made some real progress the last few weeks and I hope we can keep it going because bringing up the rear of the pack is not fun”, Hayden said. “We still have a big gap to the front guys so we have a lot of work to do to close that down and we must stay very focused. Germany is another small, twisty track with lap times almost exactly the same as Laguna – in fact they are the two shortest tracks on the tour - but it's a track I like and where I have gone well at in the past. The first section is super tight and is the part I think will be the hardest for me on our bike, but I hope to be strong in the second half, which includes the ‘waterfall' corner, which is about as good as it gets if you like fast, blind corners that take your breath away! Normally in Germany on race day it's a completely full house with fans stacked everywhere so that makes for a great atmosphere!”
Stoner stayed on in the United States following the last race to undergo a series of examinations designed at pinpointing the exact nature and cause of his current illness. The examinations have confirmed a slight gastritis and mild anaemia, which left him weak and for which he will continue to receive treatment in the coming weeks as he attempts to recover full strength. Doctors are sure that with the right treatment he will be back to full fitness in a matter of weeks.
“I have been in USA until Saturday to do all the tests. First of all I'd like to thanks all the Doctors involved in this, Dr. Ting and Dr. Tuan in the Fremont Surgery Center, Dr. Macchiagodena, Dr. Catani, Dr. Ceccarelli and of course my physiotherapist Freddy”, he said. “Hopefully step by step I will feel better with their indications. I still don't feel like I am 100% but the biggest problem now is the ribs that are very painful after the crash in the USA GP Qualifying. It will be probably another hard week end, but as always, we will do our best to stay as much as possible close to the lead of the Championship”.
“This is a delicate time for Casey but we know he is made of stern stuff”, commented MotoGP Project Director Livio Suppo. “He will continue to fight like a lion, as he has done in the past few races, even though the crash at Laguna left hit marks on him and that certainly won't help. Nicky again rides at a circuit where he has always gone well at in the past and I'm sure he will be able to confirm that the improvement made at Laguna is only the start!”