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Stoner: `Late-2008 form repeat will be enough to beat Rossi´

Stoner: `Late-2008 form repeat will be enough to beat Rossi´

Ducati rider believes expected title contenders have what it takes to defeat six-time champ.

2008 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi may be the bookies favourite for the premier class title this season, but the Italian is a beatable foe for the rest of the riders on the grid. The last man to do so, ex-titlist Casey Stoner, has a reasoned outlook on the chances of coming home ahead of the Fiat Yamaha rider, based on his performances at the end of last year.

`To beat Valentino we don´t need anything more than what we had at the end of last season,´ stated Stoner at the recent Wrooom event. `If things go right then we know that we are fast enough to win. We´re not alone either; Dani (Pedrosa) can do it, Jorge (Lorenzo) can do it, and there´s probably a couple of others that can push us as well.´

With that in mind, don´t expect outlandish excuses from Stoner should he fall behind in the title chase. Short shrift will also be given to anyone putting their poor form down to lack of familiarity with their 2009 bikes.

`I think that people use the excuse of lack of testing a bit too much. A bike´s got two wheels, handlebars, brakes, gears and the clutch,´ says the Australian, who missed the last test of the year at Jerez following wrist surgery.

`You´ve probably got to get a little used to the feeling and direction of the setup, but four days of testing before a season is enough.´

Cutting down critics before they have time to crow, Stoner is playing down any advantage that he may have as the most experienced Bridgestone rider of the expected title contenders. The Japanese tyre manufacturer will be providing a level playing field for the single-tyre regulated 2009 season, and their first ever MotoGP World Champion feels that the only benefit of his long association with Bridgestone will come from Ducati´s existing working methods.

`The single tyre will make people have to work a lot harder on setup, rather than just throwing on a set of tyres that make things feel better. This will be good for us in a way, because we´ve always worked around things and maybe had harder tyres when everyone else is on softer rubber.´

Stoner returns to testing on February 5th in Sepang, where he will ride for the first time since going under the knife in November.

MotoGP, 2008, Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team

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