Casey Stoner confident in wrist for Qatar opener

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Former world champion Casey Stoner is adamant his recovering left wrist will not cause him any problems when the new MotoGP season gets underway in Qatar later this month.

Despite movement still being severely restricted following his bone graft operation in November, the Aussie has bounced back too dominate winter testing.

He ended the 2009 pre-season campaign by crushing his rivals to win a fourth successive BMW car in yesterday’s qualifying shootout in Jerez.

Riding Ducati’s GP9 featuring a carbon fibre chassis and swingarm, Stoner was 0.7s clear of closest rival Valentino Rossi on the Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1.

At the last two tests now, only rider has managed to lap within a second of the 23-year-old, who will go in search of a 47th GP podium when the new season starts in Qatar on April 12.

“I need to use these two weeks to come better physically. The wrist is coming better all the time and the arm is getting stronger so there are no complaints.

“It doesn’t affect me when I’m riding. I can use it to train a lot more to 100 per cent and get ready for the first race. I’m looking forward to it, “said Stoner.

Stoner has also scoffed at his lack of endurance testing throughout the winter. His wrist recovery has restricted him to only short stints on track and he didn’t even consider running a full race simulation.

“I don’t care. It doesn’t matter for me. Everyone is on the same tyres and for me I’m trying to find speed rather than longevity.

“Everybody is talking about the long runs but if you don’t have the speed to be competitive then there’s no point in doing a long distance. First I figure out the lap times and then work on the race set-up.

“Normally when I go for lap times I go in the right direction to help the tyre endurance anyway, “added Stoner, who will make his 114th MotoGP start in Qatar.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt