Jerez MotoGP: Casey Stoner confident of victory challenge

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Casey Stoner is confident he can mount a strong challenge for victory in Sunday’s Spanish MotoGP race at Jerez.

The Australian is looking to bounce back from the bitter disappointment of crashing out of the lead in the season’s opening race in Qatar earlier this month on a Jerez circuit where he has only notched one premier class rostrum.

But despite his relatively poor record at the popular Spanish venue, the 24-year-old reckons his chances of claiming victory in Sunday’s 27-lap race have never been better.

The factory Ducati rider puts his optimism down to the performance potential of his new GP10 machine and he said: “We got the bike to turn really well about mid-season last year and now we've good grip with the new engine, plus more torque and acceleration.

"So coming to track like Jerez I can only believe it is going to better than it ever has been here. We are able to turn on a dime, it brakes well and we've got a lot better grip and acceleration.

"The bike is not moving as much and this year I feel I will have a better opportunity than I've ever had at this circuit. I'm a lot more confident than I've ever been going into this race."

Stoner’s certainly won’t be riding in a conservative manner this weekend despite surrendering 25-points in the Qatar season opener. He said: "I want to go for the win this year.

"In the past it has been damage limitation at this track and we have never been able to cut it. For a lap or two we are fine but it’s been a struggle to throw a string of laps together.

"Last year we didn't have grip but this year we've got things closer and I think I will have a chance here. I’ve certainly got a better chance than I've ever had of winning this race. Whether I get the result we'll have to see but I'm looking forward to it.”

Stoner certainly appeared in determined mood as he spoke about his prospects in the Ducati hospitality unit in Jerez, with the paddock all set for the crucial European phase of the 2010 campaign.

Talking about the strength of the new Big Bang GP10 and where it would be a benefit in Jerez, the 2007 world champion added: "Mainly the smoothness of the engine.

"The other bikes all brake similar and we've got fairly good acceleration, but we can put the power to the ground off the corners without the bike bucking and weaving and that makes it that much smoother.

"All these corners go one into the next and a lot are all coming out of a hard acceleration point where you have to try and keep the bike over as much as possible without it bucking and weaving.

"The previous engine character played havoc with where we could place the bike but this year we should be able to pin point where we want to go and not waste time swerving all over the place.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt