It has now been officially confirmed that Casey Stoner will miss the next three rounds of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, undoubtedly ending any title hopes he may have had.
Stoner so far has taken four podiums (including two wins) from the first five rounds of this season, but has been suffering from a mysterious energy-sapping illness in the five rounds since. He was sick and visibly exhausted after finishing third at Barcelona and then struggled with 'severe fatigue' at Assen (3rd) and Laguna Seca (4th), prompting extensive medical checks after the US GP.
Tests found only 'slight gastritis and mild anaemia', a diagnosis the young Australian was openly doubtful about and he noticed no significant improvement in his physical condition at the following German (fourth) and British events (14th).
It now seems as though the 2009 championship will be a direct fight between Fiat Yamaha team-matea Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, with fourth placed Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) a massive 72 points from the top.
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