Without a doubt Casey Stoner is one of the most gifted riders in the MotoGP paddock and after last year’s success everyone has been expecting Stoner to be the runaway success this year. Stoner did not disappoint in pre-season tests but when it came to the first GP of the season at Losail in Qatar, Stoner could manage only 3rd position. His not winning the race was attributed to an arm pump problem which hindered his riding at full throttle.
Stoner’s arm pump problem has suddenly resurfaced after a couple of years and that itself has now prompted motorsport journalists to advance various theories about the man. One of the theories that is circulating is the one started by the rider himself. He has been complaining about rear wheel chatter on the new Honda RC213V and has said that the strain of controlling the chatter is telling on his arm. Then there are the usual Stoner detractors most of whom are Italian, who believe that Stoner is unable to handle the heavier and more powerful 1000cc Honda simply because of the fact that he follows no training regimen of any sorts. His off season activity is hunting animals with a bow and arrow and fishing. They are quick to point out that he has struggled in races even at Ducati with fitness problems because of his indifference to training. You would expect the Italians to say that, right? What they are overlooking is that despite Valentino Rossi having a great training regimen for the second straight year he is going nowhere on the Ducati.
Irrespective of all these theories and despite Stoner’s assertions that he has found a way to get around the arm pump problems, one would still say that the subject is of concern especially since the race coming up this weekend is at Jerez, a circuit at which Stoner has never won and one on which his arch rivals Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo go pretty well. We are not talking Rossi because inspite of his substantial achievements in the past at Jerez you can rest assured that he will finish no better than 6th or 7th, unless of course all the other top riders fall off or if God has finally designed a Ducati which Rossi can ride with confidence.