Having dropped his Ducati for the third race in a row yesterday during the Grand Prix at Misano, Casey Stoner was running out of excuses. After the race he explained that they “took the decision to put one lap on the race tyre in warm-up this morning to get it scrubbed in.”
Apparently they had done this before and never had a problem, but Stoner complained of a major lack of grip early on in the race (that must be why he disappeared into the distance and built up a 3-4 second gap after only a couple of laps). However, he went on to say: “after a few laps it started to feel better and I was gaining confidence but it let go.” So what’s going on?
If you want my opinion Stoner panicked. Like he had done at Laguna Seca, and at Brno. It’s all very well saying that he is always on the limit and therefore more likely to stack it. But isn’t it a little more than a coincidence that the moment that he has lost it, in the last three races, was when Rossi started closing the gap?
The ever-humorous Italian did admit after the race at Misano that he may not have been able to catch the Australian, but crasher Casey wasn’t to know that was he?
So Rossi leaves his home Grand Prix with a 75-point advantage and is set, without any major mishaps, to take the 2008, and possibly his greatest Championship.
Stoner’s quick, as is Rossi. The Ducati is hard to ride right (you only have to look at poor Marco Melandri to see how difficult), but at the end of the day is blisteringly quick. The Yamaha is getting faster, especially with Rossi leading the development, which is only helped by the fact that he is now using Bridgestone rubber, which is so much better than Michelin that at times it’s almost embarassing for the French tyre manufacturer. But the main difference is that Vale has years of experience and in my eyes is just a better rider. And Stoner knows it.