San Marino Goat Track
Stoner blasts San Marino MotoGP track
World motorcycle championship leader Casey Stoner has blasted the Misano circuit - the venue for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix.
Safety issues and a poor surface are among chief concerns of the young Australian as he seeks to build on his 60-point lead over Valentino Rossi in the series.
The race will be held at the 4.1km seaside track near the Adriatic resort town of Riccione.
For safety reasons, it will be run in reverse direction, eliminating much of the knowledge any riders gained from their previous experience at the track.
Stoner is among many riders worried about the bumps and safety problems at Misano with the new era 800 MotoGP bikes usually capable of more than 320km/h.
Of the three Australian riders, Stoner rode two laps at the recent World Ducati Week celebrations, Chris Vermeulen raced superbikes there in 2005 (in the normal direction) and Anthony West won a World Supersport 600 race there in June.
"I did two laps on the Ducati tests bike and my brains nearly got rattled out through my head," Stoner said.
"The track is a lot bumpier than Laguna Seca (in America), there are a lot of long corners and there is a lot of pressure on front tyre wear.
"It's not really a grand prix track and the right hand corner coming off the back straight is fast, a little too fast perhaps.
"I feel it needs to be improved because it's very bumpy, so it's going to be pretty loose on these bikes," Stoner said.
The track was last used for a Grand Prix in 1993 and returns this year to give Italy its second race of the season.
Rossi will be at home again, fighting both to catch Stoner and ignore the off-track pressure of the investigation by Italian tax authorities.
Apart from the change to a clockwise direction, the track has a revised layout and new tarmac and an additional one hour of practice has been allocated on Friday so that riders can familiarise themselves with the circuit.
Vermeulen denies he will have any advantage because of his superbike experience.
"I am one of the few riders that have been to Misano before, but with the track changing direction the only advantage that will give me is that I will know where to park my motorhome," Vermeulen said.
Is it weird in here, or is it just me?