Casey Stoner will not take part in the next three Grands Prix, and will next return to action at the beginning of October for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Australian has suffered physical problems since the Catalunya GP, which have caused him severe fatigue during the last five races. Stoner took this difficult decision after having consulted with sports doctors who have looked after him for many years back home in Australia. At this challenging time, he has the support of the team and the whole of Ducati who together with Stoner have enjoyed racing at the top of the sport for the last three seasons.
Mika Kallio will join Nicky Hayden in the Ducati Marlboro Team for the next three races, thanks to the great spirit of collaboration between Ducati and the satellite team owned by Paolo Campinoti. Kallio is in his debut season in MotoGP and has already proved to be very competitive on the GP9. For the Brno race, his place in the Pramac Team will be taken by Michel Fabrizio.
CASEY STONER Speaks… (3rd in the championship on 150 points)
"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. 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. I have spoken with Ducati and thank them for their understanding at this time. I feel very sorry for the factory, my team, my sponsors and the fans and I am also disappointed because the bike in the last races has been very competitive. I will be doing everything possible to come back at full strength for Portugal.
NICKY HAYDEN Speaks… (13th in the championship on 47 points)
"Last season I was unable to race at Brno because I was injured, but it’s a great track which was completely resurfaced last year so I expect it will be much better in terms of the lumps and bumps. At least this year I will find out, having spent the break at home in Kentucky preparing myself for the second half of the year, and not taking part in things like the "X Games"! I can’t wait to get back on track and score some results which will make my team happy. I hope Casey can get better over the next few weeks because we all know how quick he is when he is fit. In the meantime I need to try to make progress with the team and try to make sure that they don’t miss him too much."
MIKA KALLIO Speaks… (15th in the championship on 34 points)
"When I took the call I could hardly believe it, but then I talked to my manager and I realised it was true. I am proud to be racing the next three events with the Ducati Marlboro Team. Obviously I’m not expecting to suddenly be a second quicker, because our bikes are very similar to the official machines, but I hope to be able to pick up some good results for the team. I would particularly like to thank Paolo Campinoti, who has allowed me to enjoy this incredible opportunity. It will be a real honour for me. Nonetheless I would like to send my best wishes to Casey, and I hope to see him back out on track as soon as possible."
LIVIO SUPPO Speaks… (MotoGP Project Director)
"It’s obviously difficult for us to contemplate the next three races without Casey, but it’s clear that the most important thing at this time is his health. Since his debut with us in Qatar in 2007, Casey has won 18 times as well as taking countless podium finishes, becoming one of the top riders in the World Championship in the process. We have already overcome tough times together, like when he had to undergo surgery on his scaphoid towards the end of last season. We are united whether in times of success or in times of difficulty. We are confident that the doctors will help solve the issues that have affected him since early June and that Casey will be able to take part in the last races of the year in peak fitness. Then we can prepare for 2010 in the best way possible. A big thank you to Paolo Campinoti who as always has proved to be a great supporter and an ideal partner for Ducati, allowing Mika to ride with the Ducati Marlboro Team for the next three races. Mika is having a really positive debut year in MotoGP and we are delighted that he will be alongside Nicky in the official works team. In his place at Brno in the Pramac Team will be Michel Fabrizio, who I am certain will know how to give the right kind of performance on one of his preferred tracks."
The Brno circuit snakes its way around the hills that border the Czech Republic’s second city and is one of the jewels in the crown of motorcycle racing. Built in 1987 to replace the old and dangerous road circuit that had previously hosted Grand Prix racing, the ‘new’ track retains some of the original characteristics and for this reason it is much to the liking of the riders. With track width reaching 15m in some places, its fast and mixed layout features fast direction changes, chicanes and elevation changes. The extra width rewards a precise racing line and those continual elevations changes, with several downhill braking areas, require a perfect bike set-up, a talented rider and good tyre life. Engine performance is also an important factor, with the long straights giving the MotoGP machines chance to really stretch their legs.
BRNO CIRCUIT RECORDS
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’57.199 – 164.618 km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006), 1’56.191 – 167.403 km/h
Circuit length: 5.403km
MotoGP Race 2009: 22 laps (118.866 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2009: 14:00 CET
Podium 2008: 1st Valentino Rossi, 2nd Toni Elias, 3rd Loris Capirossi
Pole 2008: Casey Stoner (Ducati), 2’11.657 – 147.738 Km/h
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT BRNO
2008: 7th (Melandri)
2007: 1st (Stoner)
2006: 1st (Capirossi)
2005: 2nd (Capirossi)
2004: 5th (Capirossi)
2003: 3rd (Bayliss)