Stoner Promises Stronger Challenge in 2009
“I don't know if you can call it defending a title when you're behind for the whole championship. I think next year I'd like to try and attack again, but as for a defense, I don't think I did a very good job because apart from the first race we weren't leading the championship at any stage during it. We were the ones attacking the whole time,” admitted Stoner after his win at Valencia.
The Australian won the season opener in Qatar but failed to challenge his rivals for race wins in the following rounds. He found his pace through the mid-season and got himself back into the title race but a series of crashes/racing mistakes – at Brno, Misano or Laguna Seca – in the second half of the season ended his hopes for a seconds consecutive title completely.
Also, Stoner suffered a wrist injury in the closing stages of the season that affected his run in the championship race. Nevertheless, the Ducati rider decided to postpone the surgery until after the season finale at Valencia – including the testing session this week – so he could get a vibe from his new Ducati 2009 bike.
“These next two days are the important ones for us to get an understanding of the new tires and how the rules are going to work, and also our new bike. We've got a couple of big days ahead of us. We've got a lot of different things to try, and then straight after that we've got to go straight in for surgery. It's going to be a little bit difficult to train over the winter but we're going to do everything we can without this hand, and then by the time next year comes we should have started moving it and we should be ready to come out,” concluded Stoner.
The Australian will have no problem trying out the new tires for 2009, as he has already used Bridgestone rubber during the past 2 seasons in MotoGP. Following a single tire supplier policy implemented by the FIM for 2009, Bridgestone will supply all teams within the MotoGP paddock with the same tires until 2011.