Stoner happy to be in early title hunt

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Aussie Casey Stoner is confident he will be able to maintain his brilliant start to the 2007 season and pose a genuine threat to ruining Valentino Rossi’s hopes of regaining the MotoGP world championship crown.

The 21-year-old is joint second with former 250 rival Dani Pedrosa after two races following an impressive switch to Ducati’s official factory team.

Stoner made a blistering start to the new 800cc era when he claimed victory in the season’s opening race in Qatar last month, which he followed up with a hard fought fifth place in Jerez’s Spanish GP.

The 2005 world 250 championship runner-up has already proved one of the most consistent performers in ’07, with impressive testing and race performances having so far completely overshadowed veteran Italian team-mate Loris Capirossi.

Stoner, Rossi and Pedrosa already look like the three main title challengers for the first 800cc title.

Stoner told MCN: “I’m hoping that’s the way it is going to be throughout the season with me, Valentino and Dani.

“Nobody else has really been consistently up front. Colin (Edwards) has been there quite a lot and it will be interesting to see if his form can continue throughout the season.

And the Monaco-based rider added: “But it does seem to be myself, Dani and Valentino always continually up front through all sessions and doing good race runs, and everybody else seems to be just struggling that little bit more.

“I know where I should be running each weekend now and know that I can run at the front each weekend. Jerez didn’t go to plan but if it did I’d be second in the championship outright and not equal second with Dani. I knew I had the speed and the ability to do it in Jerez but we just got stuffed up.”


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt