Casey Stoner admitted his ride to victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix was far from straightforward despite leading from start to finish. The World Champion held off Jorge Lorenzo to take the championship lead from the Spaniard but speaking after the race on Sunday, Stoner revealed the problems which threatened to halt his winning charge.
“In the end it was another fantastic weekend for us. This morning we were more confident but also a little concerned because yesterday afternoon when we had a very similar setting to FP3 the bike was a little bit worse in the warm conditions. In warm up we didn’t have a big problem with chatter but then for the race, under the warmer conditions, we struggled a lot more. This was very difficult to ride with, in the first part of the race I was confident and attacking the track but I closed the front twice due to the chatter. From this point I backed off a little, tried to stay smooth and just wanted to stay in front of Jorge and Dani, but Jorge was coming strong. I had to try and keep my pace and not make too many mistakes, I was changing the mapping to try and reduce the chatter problem. Towards the end of the race I began to understand how to ride around it, this made things smoother and I found some more pace and was able to bring it home for a great race win”.
Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was a thorn in Stoner's side at the first corner but faded to third and knows he needs to find another gear to beat the top two.
“It’s been a really tough race from the beginning, the pace was very very high from the first lap to the final one. Casey did a good race, unbelievably strong. I had a big shake in the first braking area, Casey and Jorge overtook me and I lost 1.5 seconds on the first lap. During the race I had some issues in the middle of the corner, I was not fast with corner speed; each lap I tried to get a little better, to try and modify my riding style, the mapping, braking later, I tried everything, I managed to match the lap times but not to close the gap. Three races on the podium is very good overall, but in three races we missed something, so let’s try it again in the next one. To reach my 100th podium is amazing and shows how fast the time goes. I’m very happy for that and I want to thank all my teams and sponsors during this time and especially Honda because I’ve been with them for my whole career”.