Returning home for the last time, Australian Casey Stoner is hoping for a final win at Phillip Island this weekend as the MotoGP season continues in Australia, but the fast paced track won't be one of the problems presened a to the two-time champ.
Just two races away from retirement, the 27-year-old Stoner is coming home to a track he has dominated throughout his career, but claiming a win will be much harder this time round for the former world champion especially with the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa hot on his tail.
Stoner has produced two acceptable races since returning from ankle surgery, fifth in Japan and third in Malaysia, but he has admitted prior to this weekend’s Grand Prix that he is still being hindered by a couple of things.
His ankle is not fully healed and doctors have told Stoner that even a small bump could cause a serious re-injury.
"If I dislocate it again, I'm in strife. We are talking broken ligaments – not just torn,'' Stoner said.
"Last Sunday in Sepang, I went thinking I'd just go around carefully, finish the race and not take any risks.''
As a result, Stoner says his main problem is a lack of confidence. Another injury will set him back months and with retirement looming, Stoner wants a life with his young family, time is obviously not on side.
With five previous wins at Phillip Island, Stoner has dominated the track since first winning the Australian meet in 2007 with Ducati. Now with Honda, Stoner’s top teammate Dani Pedrosa will also be aggressively seeking a win.
Pedrosa has been the form rider of the competition over the past months and trails standing leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by just 23 points. He has won five of the past six races including his first ever win in the rain of Sepang, Malaysia last weekend.
His run, which started in Indianapolis, has taken his total up to 14 podium finishes in 2012- a personal best.
The Phillip Island track outside of Melbourne typically produces some of the season’s highest speeds (in 2011 the race was the second fastest of the year after Mugello). Last year Stoner finished with an average speed 177.401Km/h.
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