Stoner explains the tank slapperMon, 03 Oct 2011
Casey Stoner looked all set to win at Motegi, after translating his pole position into an early race-lead. But coming over the crest on the back straight his bike momentarily lost control in a tank slapper. Regaining composure the championship leader was forced to pump his brakes to get the pads back in place, with the rear-wheel bouncing in the air he ran out of time and space to make the 90 degree right hander and was forced to run into the gravel.
Returning to the track still inside the top 10 what followed for Stoner was a battle through the pack to take third position at the flag, although helped by Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli being demoted by ride-through penalties for jump-starting.
With Lorenzo second and the Repsol Honda rider standing on the bottom step of the podium, the Australian’s points lead has been cut by four points and with it all hopes of securing his second MotoGP championship at home in Australia in two weeks time – the same day he celebrates his 26th birthday.
Already with a dramatic air over it, Motegi ended up a bizarre race. A series of unfortunate events started with three riders being caught jump-starting, Rossi sandwiched by the factory Yamaha riders and going down, Stoner falling victim to that tank slapper and a host of riders falling at turn five.
By Robin Goodwin
See also: 2011 World Supersport Champion Chaz Davies, 2011 World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa, 2011 World Supersport Champion Chaz Davies.