Jerez MotoGP: Valentino Rossi expects Casey Stoner backlash

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Valentino Rossi is expecting a backlash from Ducati rival Casey Stoner in this weekend’s Spanish GP in Jerez.

The Italian is still chasing his first win of the 2009 campaign having been beaten by Aussie Stoner in Qatar, which was followed by a narrow defeat to Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in Japan last weekend.

Stoner though missed the podium at the Twin Ring Motegi with a front brake issue restricting him to just fourth place in the Far East.

Rossi though is expecting the 23-year-old to be back to his usual form in Jerez this Sunday. Stoner dominated a recent two-day test session at the Spanish circuit when he won the televised BMW shootout, beating Rossi by over 0.7s.

That performance buried Stoner’s Jerez jinx on a circuit where he and Ducati have struggled on.

But Rossi said: “ Stoner is very strong and the new Ducati is better than the old one, especially when you see his performance at tracks like Jerez, where usually he struggles with the Ducati.

“This year he was very fast so it means they are more competitive and they fix some problems of last year’s bike. We know it is a hard job to beat him but I think we’re also in good shape and we try.

“I don’t know what problem Casey had in the race, but he arrived only fourth and for sure in Jerez he will want his revenge.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt