Just 24 hours after fearing his 2012 MotoGP World Championship title dreams would be left hanging in the balance by the ankle injury that threatened to rule him out of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Casey Stoner showed his gritty determination to turn in a painful, but impressive fourth place finish.
Following the high-speed crash that left him with torn ligaments in his right ankle, amongst other injuries, Stoner left it late in deciding to take up his sixth place on the grid, but while he needed crutches to get around the pit garage, he proved competitive once back on the Repsol Honda.
Dropping to eighth initially after a poor start, Stoner resisted the temptation to simply ride for points by battling his way up the order to put himself in position for what seemed like an unexpected podium.
As it happens, Stoner says his pain-killers began to wear off during the second half of the race and the energy-sapping effort of compensating for the injured ankle would drop him behind Andrea Dovizioso by the chequered flag.
Despite that, Stoner was still able to limit the damage to his title challenge in fourth place, even if the man himself was frustrated to be hampered by injury in the first place.
“I'm definitely disappointed with how the weekend went,” he lamented. “We had a strong start on Friday morning and then had a few issues Friday afternoon in FP2. We showed that we certainly had the pace for pole position and fight for the win but unfortunately I had a huge crash in qualifying. The injuries I sustained from the crash made things very difficult for us and we lost precious track time to work on the set up.
“In warm-up I was just getting comfortable on the bike and trying to get a feel for everything rather than working on set-up. The race was equally as difficult, we had a rough start and got pushed back some positions and had to fight our way back through. As soon as we did, unluckily Ben had a bike failure and I found myself in the middle of the smoke, unsure where I was going and what I might hit and we lost positions again.
“At the end of the race it was almost impossible to maintain the pace. The painkillers I took to dull the pain gradually wore off at around the half-way point and as I was compensating for my injury with the other side of my body, I simply had no energy left. It was frustrating to give up the podium position to Andrea but we did everything we could and at least I was able to ride and take some points."