Casey Stoner targets Spanish recovery

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Casey Stoner is hoping to get his 2010 MotoGP world championship challenge up and running at this weekend’s Spanish GP in Jerez.

The Aussie blew a golden chance to collect the first 25-points of the campaign when he crashed out of the lead during the opening round of the series in Qatar earlier this month.

But Stoner is confident he can bounce back at the Jerez circuit, which he has struggled to conquer so far in the premier class.

Stoner may have won 20 times in MotoGP but his record at the Spanish venue is relatively poor and he has only scored one podium finish at Jerez.

That came with a battling third in last year’s race, and after the postponement of the Japanese GP due to an Icelandic volcano causing travel chaos in Europe, the 24-year-old said: “It is pretty unusual for a GP to be postponed but like last year in Qatar it is the kind of thing we can't predict or control so we just have to look ahead to Jerez and the job that awaits us there.

"In the past it hasn't been one of the more favourable circuits for us but we made some steps forward last year and finished on the podium. We start from zero this time around though and on Friday we'll be working hard to find a set-up for the race.

"You need good handling for this track but also good stability and I think the direction we've taken with development of the GP10 should allow us to be competitive on Sunday.”

Factory Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden meanwhile is hoping he can continue the brilliant form he displayed under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar.

The Kentucky rider came tantalisingly close to notching only his second podium for Ducati when Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso beat him in a dash to the line.

Hayden, who also has only one MotoGP top three finish to his name at Jerez, said: “We were all ready for a flyaway race and instead we’re going to Jerez for the first GP in Europe, where the paddock is all set up ‘properly’ with the motorhomes, hospitality units and all those fans!

"The atmosphere at Jerez is always awesome. Nothing really springs to mind about the track itself… there are no huge straights – mainly sections that flow into one another.

"At this time of year the track can be a little cold in the morning and then it tends to get warm in the afternoon, so we will have to be ready for any kind of condition.

"Our target is to try to stay at the level we set ourselves in the first race and build on what we did out there.

"I know I have a good bike and a team that is fully behind me so I can’t wait to get back on track.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt