'Struggling': Battle behind Casey Stoner's devastating diagnosis

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Casey Stoner has reflected on his chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis after returning to the MotoGP paddock.
After returning to the MotoGP paddock for the first time in three years, Australian champion Casey Stoner described life after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram

Australian MotoGP legend Casey Stoner has opened up about his painful battle with chronic fatigue syndrome in his first visit to pit lane in years.

The MotoGP series is in Portugal this weekend, with the two-time world champion Stoner back in the paddock as he resumes work with the championship.

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In a press conference to mark Stoner's re-emergence in MotoGP, the 36-year-old described the devastating impact his chronic fatigue diagnosis had taken on his life.

Stoner retired from MotoGP in 2012 after winning the title in 2007 and 2011.

He returned to the sport for a short time in 2018 after earning a role as a development rider for Ducati, but the ongoing effects of his chronic fatigue forced him to give that role up.

Stoner said the syndrome left him feeling like he was never 'more than 60% of myself', but added that being back in the world of MotoGP was a wonderful feeling.

“It’s been three and a half years I believe. This was my whole world for a lot of years. We knew everyone,” Stoner said.

“A lot of people in this paddock are family and friends. We’ve missed everyone, to be honest.

“Since I finished my testing role with Ducati, I got my shoulder reconstruction which was fantastic. I’ve struggled massively with my health. 

"I got to the point where I couldn’t get off the couch basically for five months. From bed to the couch was my exercise for the day. I couldn’t explain anything, we couldn’t understand anything." 

Stoner married teenage sweetheart Adriana Tuchyna in 2007, with the couple having two children, Alessandra and Celaya.

He said he was incredibly fortunate to have the support of his family in the years after his diagnosis, with Stoner now finally at the level where he believes he can manage his life more effectively.

“Mentally I was struggling. Physically, massively. For the last three or four years now I’ve just been trying to manage the situation," he said.

“Trying to learn how to conserve energy through the day. Learning what hurts me long term versus what not necessarily makes me better, but reduces the effect of my issue.”

“The end of last year I started feeling a little better in December, January. I thought maybe I’m not coming out of it but I can manage this now. I started being able to do little bits during the day and not be too tired for the next week or two, which was really exciting."

Casey Stoner rejoins MotoGP world after chronic fatigue diagnosis

The Queensland-born motorsport great first went public with his CFS diagnosis in October last year.

Speaking to the TODAY show, Stoner said he first began feeling symptoms of the syndrome, for which there is no cure, in 2018.

“I very quickly went downhill and started to get some extreme symptoms and struggled to get out of bed and get to the couch,” he said.

“Because people can't see it, it's not a physical element that people can see, so people aren't taking it as serious.

“They all just go, 'you're a bit tired, get up'.

“Currently we have no cure. We don't have enough information on things that can help.

Casey Stoner has reflected on his struggles after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Australian two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Picture: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/GettyImages

“The amount of positive feedback I've had since coming out and telling the public that I have ME/CFS - it's nice to know people are out there willing to help recognise and understand the situation isn't good for people.

“I hope other people out in the world can get support and this is what we're doing.”

Stoner has been doing some work for Ducati, who have Australian hot shot Jack Miller on their books.

Since his 2012 retirement from MotoGP, Stoner bounced around between various other motorcycling commitments as well as a cameo in Supercars sub-category the Dunlop Super 2 series.

The 36-year-old’s final stint as a test rider for Ducati wrapped up in 2017. 

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