Casey Stoner fears his hopes of ending his career in winning fashion could be ruined by the weather in Valencia tomorrow, with his farewell MotoGP race likely to be dominated by rain.
The Repsol Honda rider will retire after tomorrow’s race and he admitted if the race takes place in wet conditions he is less likely to bow out with a win because of his recovering right ankle.
With rain forecast for tomorrow, Stoner said he is unlikely to take too many risks with a crash having potentially serious consequences for the recovering right ankle he seriously damaged at Indianapolis in mid-August.
Stoner took a record sixth straight win in front of his home crowd at Phillip Island last month, but he admitted he was nervous and cautious when racing to third in a storm-lashed Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Stoner, who won two world titles in 2007 and 2011 for Ducati and Honda, said: “I am not willing to risk a huge injury in wet conditions because you don't even need to make a mistake and you can crash, so the risk is much, much higher.
"In the dry I have feeling and can understand what is going on but at this track it is not the best. At Sepang I hadn't ridden in the wet for months and I was nervous, so I took my time to get the feeling.
"I will race no matter what the weather but it is difficult to know how much I am going to push."
Despite the grim weather forecasts, Stoner said his final race in MotoGP will still be a special moment and he added: “It will be and hopefully it will be dry. I won't feel particularly good riding in the wet but I’ll put in the same effort as I always do, whether it is my first or last race.
"Australia was something special and I'm not expecting that result at this circuit. I really struggled in Japan and Malaysia, so I hope I can hang in there and hopefully fight for a win or podium. That would be fantastic."
Stoner admitted the condition of his right ankle has been getting gradually worse since he made his return to action in Japan last month and then raced on three successive Sunday’s.
He appears to be limping more heavily this weekend and he added: “It changes day by day with how it feels and also a lot with the weather and because the weather is miserable this weekend it makes it a little bit more extreme.
"Since I came back in Japan everything has slowly been getting worse. It has put me back a lot although on the bike it is not that much worse. It is when I get off the bike and put weight on my heel, it kills me. As soon as this done it will be fine but it shouldn't be any worse on the bike here."