Ducati's "grid strategy" has been blamed for Casey Stoner's embarrassing exit just before the start of Sunday's MotoGP season finale.

The Australian, fastest in all track sessions prior to the race at Valencia, fell from his Ducati on the warm-up lap and was forced to trudge away on foot, while the rest of the field took the start without him.

The crash not only cost Stoner a shot at winning his fifth race of the season, but also cost him third in the final world championship standings to Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who went on to win the race.

"We've been using this grid strategy for the past two seasons, but the only risk is that the tyres are colder than they should be for the warm-up lap," said Ducati Corse general director Filippo Preziosi. "We obviously need to change this for the future and make sure there is enough temperature in the tyre.

"It is the first time it has happened in two years but once is already too much so we will look to improve on that. We have some ideas already and we will have something different in place for the first race of next season."

"Obviously this is a frustrating and disappointing way to finish the season," commented Stoner. "There have been plenty of highs and lows throughout the year and we have ended on a low, but with another lesson learnt for next season. We have had this strategy for two years and not had a problem until today so I guess it is better it happened here than in the first race of next season in Qatar!.

"The important thing is that after back-to-back wins in Australia and Malaysia we have shown our pace here at Valencia and we know we have everything in place to be competitive next season if we do the job right over the winter," he stated.

"Now I am looking forward to working on the bike over the next three days and then spending a couple of months building up my physical fitness, which I haven't been able to dedicate myself 100% to for such a long time. We know it will be hard next year but we are confident that we can be back and fighting again.

"I want to give my personal thanks to everybody in the team - to Filippo and everybody at Ducati Corse for giving me a bike that was competitive even when I wasn't and for working to make sure it was firing on all cylinders when I came back.

"I also want to thank Livio Suppo, who is leaving the team, for all the support he has given me since I joined Ducati and especially during the difficult moments this season," Stoner concluded.

Team-mate Nicky Hayden finished fifth in the race.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment