MotoGP: Casey Stoner bullish about title prospects

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Casey Stoner reckons it is too early to begin to worry about the defence of his world title slipping away as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing run in Shanghai this weekend.

The Aussie hasn’t scored a podium since his brilliant first round victory in Qatar back in March, and the 22-year-old has slipped to fourth in the early points standings.

But the factory Ducati rider is confident he can be fighting at the front in China this weekend as he returns to one of the 10 tracks where he won during a dominant 2007 campaign.

Stoner reckons it is too premature to write him off after just three races and he said: “I am still not far away and it is a long season, I’m not giving up yet.

“Things have gone bad for a couple of races but I also had a couple of bad races last year but still managed to win the championship by a long way. If we can improve you never know what can happen.”

Casey Stoner though conceded that his bid for title glory in 2008 would be harder than last season, with four riders fighting for the title.

Stoner romped to success last season, with Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa making flying starts to 2008.

And Stoner said: “Last year there was only three riders able to take points away and consistently running up front so maybe this year it will be mixed up more, maybe someone who is first one week will be fourth in the next race. This will make it more interesting.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt