Nicky Hayden expecting Estoril return for Casey Stoner

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American Nicky Hayden is confident he will be reunited with factory Ducati team-mate Casey Stoner at next month’s Estoril MotoGP encounter in Portugal.

Stoner has missed the last three races while he tries to recover from chronic fatigue issues that hindered him at the midway stage of the 2009 campaign.

The Aussie, who won the world title in 2007, targeted a return to action in Estoril on October 4, but as yet there has been no official confirmation that Stoner is fit and ready to return for round 14.

But Hayden, who claimed his first Ducati podium finish earlier this month when he claimed third place on home soil in Indianapolis, is confident Stoner will be ready for Estoril.

He said: “There’s a lot of rumours going around and it doesn’t take long to throw some fuel on and they start growing. But I got a text message from Casey in Indy and I think he’s going to come back pretty strong.

“Casey really enjoys riding motorcycles and he enjoys the paddock. I’d say he’ll be fast and I’d say there’ll be a point where I’m wishing he’d go take another holiday. I hope he comes back strong, for me, for the championship and for Ducati. He’s so fast he makes you shake your head.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt