MotoGP: Valentino Rossi believes Casey Stoner will get stronger in 2008

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Valentino Rossi reckons Ducati rival Casey Stoner will prove to be an even bigger threat in 2008.

The Italian, who is currently recovering from three broken bones in his right hand after a massive crash in Valencia last weekend, believes Casey Stoner’s incredible 2007 campaign will only make him a more formidable opponent next season.

Stoner dominated the 2007 season with 10 victories in his first season with Ducati and Bridgestone.

Such was his domination Valentino Rossi successfully secured a switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres in 2008 to compete on the same rubber as the Australian.

Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, who will make his Bridgestone debut in Jerez later this month, said: “I don’t think he will be more relaxed now he’s won the title because he is very young.

“From one point he has won so he will be more relaxed, but from the other point he has more confidence with himself and he will be even stronger next year.”

Casey Stoner continued his brilliant form in the first winter test in Valencia this week. He crushed his rivals riding a modified version of the 2007 championship-winning GP7.

His first appearances on the new 2008 factory Ducati will come at the Jerez test, which starts on November 27, 2007.

That is the last track action of the year before the seven-week winter testing ban kicks in. Testing resumes in Sepang on January 22, 2008.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt