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Rivals praise wounded Stoner's brave ride
By Robert Grant
16:29 AEST Tue Aug 21 2012

MotoGP champion Casey Stoner will again test his pain threshold when he lines up in this weekend's Czech Grand Prix with multiple leg fractures and ligament damage.

The Australian suffered the injuries in a practice fall in Indianapolis at the weekend but still managed to ride - and finish fourth.

Stoner raced with several small chipped bone fractures, a 10mm fracture below the tibia and fibula and torn ligaments in his right ankle.

The defending world champion has been applauded by his rivals for his courage after a ride that has kept his MotoGP title hopes alive.

His brave Indy performance drew praise from championship leader and main rival Jorge Lorenzo and Italian Andrea Dovizioso who also rides for Yamaha.

Stoner was in line for a podium finish but faded from third to fourth behind Dovizioso as a pre-race painkilling injection wore off.

"Casey made a really amazing race," Dovizioso said.

"He couldn't push and his position on the bike was really bad. I like to fight with him in a race because Casey is Casey, but his situation wasn't 100 per cent."

Stoner now trails Lorenzo by 39 points with seven races remaining, including the Australian GP at Phillip Island in October.

While Indy race winner Dani Pedrosa (Honda) has emerged as a title threat, just 18 points behind, Lorenzo refuses to write-off Stoner's chances.

"I will not discount Casey because he is strong and he is capable of winning several races consecutively, so it is still very difficult for me," Lorenzo said.

Stoner salvaged 13 points with his Indy effort which came after a vicious highside crash in qualifying that damaged his ankle.

Stoner has sent the X-rays and scans taken at the Indianapolis Hospital to Newcastle sports physician Neil Halpin for further advice on treatment.

Halpin, who has previously treated Stoner's race injuries, is recognised for his role as specialist consultant to the Newcastle Knights in the NRL.

"I simply had no energy left and it was frustrating to give up the podium position to Andrea but I did everything to at least take some points," Stoner said.

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