Oz Racers around the World – August 2009


MotoGP – News

It has been officially confirmed that Casey Stoner will miss the next three rounds of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship. Ducati's 2007 world champion, who took four podiums from the first five rounds of this season, has been suffering from a mysterious energy-sapping illness in the five rounds since. Stoner was sick and visibly exhausted after finishing third at Barcelona on June 14 - then struggled with 'severe fatigue' at Assen (third) and Laguna Seca (fourth), prompting extensive medical checks after the US GP.  But those found only 'slight gastritis and mild anaemia', a diagnosis the young Australian was openly doubtful about and he noticed no significant improvement in his physical condition at the following German and British events.

Epstein Barr Virus, which can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, was suggested as one possibility but never proven. After Donington, Stoner returned to Australia during the summer break to seek consultation from trusted sports doctors. They are yet to pinpoint the problem, but think a virus during the Catalunya round triggered the fatigue problems. With medical tests continuing, Stoner will withdraw from action until Estoril on October 4 to try and regain full fitness.

“After five extremely difficult races due to my health, I returned to Australia to visit the sports doctors who have looked after me for many years. We have taken the difficult decision not to contest the next three rounds of the championship, to allow my body time to recover from the recent stress,” said Stoner. “The doctors believe that during the Barcelona race I was suffering from a virus, and, that I subsequently pushed my body too hard, leading to problems that have caused my fatigue since then. The doctors are continuing with many tests to try to understand these problems and make sure it does not happen again.


MotoGP – Indianapolis

For once, Jorge Lorenzo kept his Fiat Yamaha on two-wheels while Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Ross crashed around him to win Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix. Pedrosa, whose total domination of the Indy weekend, had bolted from pole and was sitting a few tenths clear of Rossi and Lorenzo when the front of his Repsol Honda folded on entry to the tight final turn at the end of lap 4 of 28. The Spaniard remounted and finished a distant 17th and last.

Pedrosa's downfall gave Rossi and Lorenzo a five-second lead over Colin Edwards, but title leader Rossi was next to fall when he suddenly slammed shoulder-first into the asphalt on entry to turn two on lap 10 - just one lap after losing the lead to Lorenzo. A stunned Rossi rejoined in 16th , but was struggling with bike damage and retired shortly after being overtaken by Pedrosa on lap 13.

On returning to the pit, Rossi immediately began examining the telemetry for clues to his accident. The exit marked Rossi's first DNF of the year and only the second time this year he has failed to score points. Lorenzo, who began the race 50 points behind Rossi and openly talking of settling for second, cruised to his third victory of the season celebrated with a huge wheelie, before climbing the trackside fencing 'Indy 500' style and being given a Captain America shield to go with his special helmet design. The 22-year-old has now halved Rossi advantage to 25 points with 125 points still undecided.

The mistakes by Pedrosa and Rossi handed second place to de Angelis, but he soon had Nicky Hayden in pursuit and while de Angelis had never taken a MotoGP podium, Hayden was trying for his first rostrum as a Ducati rider. He was ultimately able to shake-off Hayden and claim second, while Hayden found himself under pressure from Andrea Dovizioso - the man who replaced him at Repsol Honda.

Desperate to stand on the podium in front of his home fans and bolster his hopes of staying at Ducati, Hayden made his patriot-liveried Desmosedici as wide as possible and held off Dovi by 0.5sec at the flag. While Hayden celebrated, countryman Edwards was clearly underwhelmed by his fifth place finish.

Team-mate James Toseland was more content, having once again matched his career best result of sixth. The Englishman battled Marco Melandri for much of the race, until he crashed with just three laps to go.

Loris Capirossi claimed seventh for Suzuki, while Mika Kallio finished his second race as a factory Ducati rider in eighth. de Angelis' team-mate Toni Elias came in at ninth, while the recovering Pedrosa snatched tenth from Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) at the line.




Suzuki rider Mat Mladin's final race will come during the AMA Pro Superbike Championships, September 4-6, after the Australian rider announced his retirement effective at the end of this season.

The 37-year-old Mladin will, along with the rest of the AMA riders, end his season at the South Jersey facility. Mladin has already clinched his record seventh American Superbike title, earning the crown with one round to go. With two races still to be run, he also has a chance to expand his record 82 career wins.

"My career has been long and above and beyond my wildest expectations," Mladin said in a statement announcing his retirement. "I won my first national championship on dirt bikes back in 1981 (28 years ago) and have had an amazing career ever since. I would like to thank my team for their constant hard work. Without these guys, the 80-plus race wins and multiple championships would not have been possible." "I wish to thank my fans," Mladin said. "I want you to know that you all have helped me achieve so much"

"It's nice to get it done and tie it up," Mladin said after clinching the title with two races to spare. "It's been a pretty amazing run. We've obviously won a lot of championships as a team (with Suzuki) over the last ten years. It's been pretty amazing from the first one in 1999 all the way through to this year."

Mladin's absence in the paddock is going to be noticed by his fellow competitors in the paddock. While it may open up more chances for wins, it also means missed opportunities to test themselves against one of the world's fastest motorcycle riders.