Casey Stoner is confident he can fight for a third straight win in this weekend’s Sepang race in Malaysia to further boost his confidence ahead of his crucial home race in Australia later this month.
Stoner arrives in Malaysia brimming with confidence after he claimed stunning victories in the Motorland Aragon and Twin Ring Motegi races recently.
Sepang is one of the 24-year-old’s best tracks and he won in dominant fashion a year ago and on current form is a red-hot favourite to claim another success and bolster his hopes of snatching second in the overall rankings away from injured Dani Pedrosa.
The factory Ducati rider said: “We’re coming here with more confidence, especially after a race like Motegi. The race was great for us and I think it was important for us to see the way the bike was working at a circuit like that.
"We didn’t think we were going to be competitive, so to come out like that and take a win was perfect. We’ve not had the best season and given Jorge (Lorenzo) or Dani a run for their money.
"It is too late now but I’ll continue fighting until the end and see how it goes.”
Stoner’s big threat in the previous two races came from Repsol Honda. He survived intense pressure from Pedrosa to win the inaugural Motorland Aragon race in Spain and then he fended off the determined challenge posed by Andrea Dovizioso in Japan.
But he said it difficult to predict where the main opposition would come from this weekend.
He added: ”I don’t know if I’ll have the target on my back. We’ve got to make sure we’re the people being targeted and it’s not us doing the targeting. We’ll see what happens but hopefully we can be at the pointy end of the race but we know it will be a tough weekend.”
Lorenzo only needs to finish in the top ten in Sunday’s race to claim his first MotoGP title and Stoner said he expected the Spaniard to try and win from the front.
When Stoner won his world title in 2007, he did so by claiming sixth in a rain-hit clash at the Twin Ring Motegi.
He added: “You don’t think about the championship when you’re in the race. It wasn’t probably until the last six laps of the race in Motegi in ’07 when I started to think about points.
"When everything is hectic in the first part of the race you’re just trying to keep yourself upright but at the same time still be going for it and trying to win. To win a championship with a victory is definitely the way you want to do it. I wasn’t able to do it but it is has got to be a good feeling to take the title with a win.”