The world champion was sitting on the third time when he crashed, unhurt, in turn one on his final lap of the 90-minute morning session. The crash came in the the early part of the course, which has new asphalt and which all of the riders agree is slipperier and offers less grip than the rest of the 2.621-mile layout.
“The track conditions vary drastically between the old surface and the new,” Stoner said after lapping just .156 secs. slower than the pace set by Kawasaki’s Anthony West. “Grip is good on the old stuff but there isn’t even minimum grip on the recently laid asphalt and the rain makes it much worse because it isn’t draining off.
“As far as security is concerned, there are only a couple of critical areas – in particular turn five, where the run-off is very short. There’s not much we can do about that right now though – the best thing would be to stick an air-fence in. At the end of the session I crashed on the section where the grip is poorest and that’s obviously not good for the wrist, but thankfully it didn’t create any major problems. I tried to get back on but it wasn’t possible, otherwise I would have come back on the bike. In general I’m quite satisfied with how we’ve started.”
On Thursday Stoner revealed that he hadn’t recently re-broken his wrist, it had never properly healed from when it was first broken five years ago.
“I’ve been a little disappointed with the news of that,” he said. “I thought it was sorted five years ago, but I kept having quite a lot of pains over the years, every now and then, nothing bad enough; and they just kept telling me, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, scaphoids do this,’ but we’ve had X-rays and scans and realize that the bone basically broke itself into a few pieces. We have got to decide what to do in the future with it, but for now we have just got to keep racing and see what we can do.”