Mike Stevens | Jul 27, 2009

2007 WORLD CHAMPION Casey Stoner’s mid-season slump has continued after a disappointing performance in the British MotoGP at Donington Park.

Stoner finished a lap down in 14th place and was the second last bike to cross the line after he was punished for an early tyre gamble which ultimately proved costly.

With the race declared a wet event, Stoner, and teammate Nicky Hayden chose to start on wets while remaining bikes on the grid chose dry tyres, hoping to capitalise on an expected early downpour.

But the rain refused to appear until later in the race. Stoner meanwhile dropped down the grid, falling from fourth to the back of the pack to ruin his afternoon and damage his championship hopes after series leader Valentino Rossi finished fifth, while Jorge Lorenzo failed to finish.

Ducati boss Livio Suppo told Autosport after the race it was Stoner and Hayden’s decision to start the race on wet tyres.

“The team told both riders that everybody was on slick tyres, so we suggested going on slick tyres. But they felt like the back of the circuit was too wet to go out with the slicks,” he said.

"I think both were influenced by the fact that they were fast in the wet warm-up, especially Nicky. So they were probably really hoping for the rain - Casey because of his condition, and Nicky because he was fast this morning and yesterday in the dry was not.”

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Suppo though refused to absolve himself of responsibility, claiming he should have intervened in the decision making process.

“But again I take all my responsibility, but I think in my job I can suggest the riders do something but if safety is involved I would never force a rider to do something,” he said.

Meanwhile, Italian Andrea Dovizioso emerged as the surprise winner of the race, claiming Honda’s second victory and his first in MotoGP after replacing Hayden on the factory bike this season.

Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards was rewarded for his strong performance with second spot while Randy de Puniet finished third on a satellite Honda.

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