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Stoner fit and ready

Stoner fit and ready

Ducati Marlboro rider feels in fine shape as he continues his preparations for the start of the 2010 season.

Casey Stoner is looking forward to the new MotoGP season which starts at Losail in April, and says he feels in better condition than he has done for the past three years.

The Australian’s well documented fitness problems which led to a three-race break in the 2009 World Championship are now well and truly behind him, as he proved with a strong finish to the campaign.

“We had a good start to the season, and midway through when the bike was working flawlessly I started having problems myself,” said Stoner at the Wrooom 2010 event in Madonna di Campiglio. “We saw as many doctors as we could but there were no answers, so everyone started pointing at my head and saying it was a mental problem. I knew better; I’m not going to have a mental breakdown in the middle of the season when everything’s going well. We figured it out over the two-month break and came back strong, and it was nice to come back and get a few good results before the end of the season.”

Stoner has so far enjoyed an uninterrupted early pre-season training programme this time around, and is feeling the benefits.

“I’m feeling better than I have in the last three years,” he said. “My training levels have increased dramatically and my fitness is a lot higher than ever, and it feels easier. We’re really looking forward to this year and are going out to win the Championship. I’m looking forward to this year. It is my first off-season in the past three years where I haven’t had any kind of injury or operation, so it’s been good to train throughout.”

Stoner continued, “At the last test in Valencia we tried the new engine configuration, and really loved it. We had lots more traction and were able to do more with the bike. We think that’ll help us on the track and make the bike more balanced throughout the season. We still have a lot of things to test before the first race, but we’re confident we can take the fight a little further along the season.”

With a clear target of a second World Championship title, Stoner sees reigning MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi as the main obstacle to his goal.

“Obviously Valentino’s the one to beat, he’s won the Championship the last two years in a row now,” said Stoner, who was the last rider before Rossi to take the title when he won it in 2007. “I think was a big achievement for us last year to be within striking distance of Jorge in the last race (of 2009), and unfortunately not even start it. Both riders have their strong points. Sometimes Valentino can be very fast in a weekend and struggle in the race a little bit. Other times you think he’s struggling and in the race he will do very well. Jorge is sometimes a little easier to understand. When things aren’t going well for him throughout a weekend it normally doesn’t improve for the race. He’s often very strong throughout the weekend and that continues into the race. They’re both very different and that’s how you have to approach them.”

MotoGP, 2010, Casey Stoner, Ducati Team

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