Aussie Casey Stoner has played down hopes he can end his Grand Prix career on a high with a victory in Sunday’s season finale at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
The Repsol Honda rider arrives in Spain for his farewell appearance with confidence sky high after he stormed to a record-breaking sixth straight win in his home race at Phillip Island.
The 27-year-old will retire after Sunday’s race but he is unsure whether he can bow out with a sixth victory of his final season.
Stoner, who is still well short of 100% fitness after he suffered a serious right ankle injury in Indianapolis, won his first Grand Prix at Valencia way back in the 2003 125GP race and he said: “I'm not expecting anything like Phillip Island. Obviously that place is something special for me, but I can expect some kind of result here.
"I've always had pretty good success at this circuit. Even if I haven’t won I've been competitive. It tends to suit my style and there are not too many right hand corners, so things should be easier physically than Malaysia and Japan.”
Stoner, who won two MotoGP world titles in 2007 and 2011, said his commanding victory in front of a record crowd at Phillip Island last month was a huge relief.
He had feared the ankle injury that forced him to miss three races would cost him the chance of winning one more race before he retired and he said: “The win at Phillip Island took a huge weight off my shoulders.
"I wanted to try and get a win before the end of the season and after my first two comeback races didn't go to plan I only had a couple of races left. So Phillip Island was huge relief and I'll be going into this race the same.
"This track goes to the left, so it suits me and the Honda a lot better than some other circuits. Phillip Island was something special for me but I don't think this track will be as good to me as that was.”
Asked whether he had mixed emotions with a new chapter in his life starting on Monday, he said: “There are some mixed feelings to a certain degree but this something I didn’t just decide a month ago.
"I've known for a long time this will be my last race. There are not too many emotions. I know what this decision means, so I'm going into this race to do my best and then see how I feel after my last race.”