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In a crucial twist for the 2009 World Championship, Casey Stoner will be unable to take part in the next three Grands Prix due to his ongoing health problems. Currently thirty-seven points behind championship leader Valentino Rossi, the lengthy absence could spell the end of the Australian's title challenge as Mika Kallio deputises.
Having suffered from on and off spells of illness due to mild anaemia and slight gastritis since the Catalan Grand Prix in June, Stoner made the decision to postpone his racing activities having consulted with doctors. Whilst the Australian recovers at home, Finn Mika Kallio will be moving from the Alice Ducati satellite team to partner Nicky Hayden for the Grands Prix of Indianapolis and Misano as well as this weekend's meeting at Brno. Michel Fabrizio, in turn, will take Kallio's Alice spot.
"After five extremely difficult races due to my health, I returned to Australia to visit the sports doctors who have looked after me for many years," 2007 Champion Stoner explained. "We have taken the difficult decision not to contest the next three rounds of the championship to allow my body time to recover from the recent stress.
"The doctors believe that, during the Barcelona race, I was suffering from a virus and that I subsequently pushed my body too hard, leading to problems that have caused my fatigue since then. The doctors are continuing with many tests to try to understand these problems and make sure it does not happen again.
"I have spoken with Ducati and thank them for their understanding at this time. I feel very sorry for the factory, my team, my sponsors and the fans and I am also disappointed because the bike has been very competitive in the last races; I will be doing everything possible to come back to full strength for Portugal."
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