If you will pardon the pun, it’s a tough break for Casey Stoner and his Suzuka 8-Hour debut, as the two-time MotoGP World Champion broke his right scapula & left tibia today in crash that occurred while he was leading the famous iconic endurance race.
Stoner, along with his teammates Takumi Takahashi and Michael van der Mark, took the factory-backed Honda team of MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO to a third-place qualifying position, after the Top 10 team qualifying shootout.
With Stoner at the helm of #634 for his first stint of the day, the Honda team took over the leading position, when the Yamaha Factory Racing Team pitted.
Subsequently, the Australian lost control of the Honda CBR1000RR because the throttle got stuck open, which then caused him to crash into the hairpin turn of Turn 11, which is appropriately enough called “Hairpin”.
The news is an unfortunate end to Stoner’s return to motorcycle racing, and of course it ends the MuSASHI RT HARC-PRO team’s hope of defending their Suzuka 8-Hour win from last year.
There’s no word yet on Stoner’s recovery time, not that he will be needing to get on a motorcycle right away again.
Hopefully though, this won’t be the Australian’s last foray at the Suzuka 8-Hour, which is once again seeing the Japanese factories stack their teams with heavy-hitting World Championship riders and very talented Suzuka specialists.
Proving that point is the pole-setting factory Yamaha team, which has MotoGP’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith joining Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
Source: Casey Stoner (Twitter); Photo: Alpinestars