Valencia MotoGP: Casey Stoner confident of final Ducati win

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Casey Stoner is confident he can end his factory Ducati career on a high note by winning Sunday’s final race of 2010 at the Valencia circuit in Spain.

The Australian topped the timesheets in this morning’s opening practice session with a lap of 1.32.897.

But he was the only rider in the 17-strong field not to go quicker this afternoon as he slipped down to second overall behind new world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner’s best time posted this morning left him 0.207s behind home favourite Lorenzo, who set the quickest time of 1.32.690 on his final flying lap.

The 2007 world champion, who will move to Honda immediately after Sunday’s race, said: “I had a good feeling this morning but I stopped early because I had a strange feeling with one of the bikes and this afternoon did a few laps and still had the same strange feeling.

"The team were trying to understand what the problem was so I switched to the second bike but unfortunately it had a different linkage and a couple of other different things so it had a different feeling. 

"The best thing we tested this afternoon was the hard compound tyre and had quite a good feeling with it. What we needed to see was how cold it can be to run this tyre and it didn't seem too bad. But if it gets any colder it might be more difficult.”

Asked if he could elaborate on the cause of the strange feeling, he said his Ducati crew were still investigating the issue.

Stoner, who crashed out on the warm-up prior to last year’s Valencia race, added: “Don't really know. It was just a strange feeling and we don't know if was coming from the engine or something else but everything is being checked.

"It was a little bit frustrating because that was the bike that felt the best but we just didn't get the right feedback, so it was better to stop and check it and make sure it is safe."

Stoner, who crashed out of third in Estoril last weekend, so he was desperate to make amends and win on his final Ducati appearance.

He added: “Portugal was a disappointment for me but nothing that I spent too much time thinking about. I knew what went wrong so forget about it and move on to the next one. I'm looking forward to next week.

"It has slowly been coming more and more inside my head but I still really want to do the best I possibly can this weekend and give it 100 per cent and try to win for Ducati. That's what I'm thinking about at the moment."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt