Ducati duo ready for round three after mixed start

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Casey Stoner is confident as he arrives at Jerez, whilst his new Ducati colleague Nicky Hayden is looking for improvements after a difficult start to the year.

Following a highly successful visit to Jerez earlier this year as the winner of the BMW M Award at MotoGP Official Test, Casey Stoner goes into the third race weekend of the season determined to hit the podium at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España.

A close third in the standings after his outstanding victory in Qatar and fourth place in Japan, Stoner looked ahead to this weekend’s Spanish sojourn stating, “I’ve never really done well at Jerez but in the winter test we worked well and set some quick times so we’ll try to use that as the base for a positive weekend. You need good handling at this track and a bike that allows you to get into the corner quickly and then onto the gas straight away, as well as having good stability.”

The 2007 World Champion added, “I think we’ve taken a step forward in this area with the GP9 and as long as we don’t get bad weather or some other kind of setback then we should find a good set-up for Jerez. Some of our better tracks are coming up later in the season but if we stay focused and keep working as we are doing then we can still put some decent results on the board. The start of the season has been better for us this year than it was last year so we have to try and keep our standards up.”

Recovering from chest and back injuries, meanwhile, Stoner’s new Ducati Marlboro colleague Nicky Hayden has had a less fortunate start to the season. A gritty 12th place in Qatar on his debut for the Italian factory, after a big qualifying crash, was followed up with a DNF in Japan having been taken out on the first lap by Yuki Takahashi, leaving the American with just four points from two races.

“I can’t deny that it’s been a tough start to the season, especially in Japan, but we have to move on and look ahead,” Hayden said. “Now we go to Jerez and even though we didn’t have a great test there in March, things are different now.”

On a positive note, the Kentuckian rider added, “At Motegi I felt as though the communication within the team had improved, the work we’re doing together as a group is becoming more smooth, so I’m looking forward to starting again at Jerez with a clear and positive mind. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of it raining again there.”

“At the moment it looks like the forecast is good but it seems as though somebody upstairs likes seeing MotoGP riders in the wet. Joking aside, it would be nice to have a ‘normal’ weekend so that we can work properly on the bike. I want my season to finally get going.”

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