Casey Stoner: Ducati won't be worried

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Casey Stoner isn't expecting Ducati's current dip in form to drag on for long with the Australian convinced Valentino Rossi will be competitive in the early part of the 2011 MotoGP world championship.

Rossi has so far struggled to make any significant impact on the new factory GP11 and he was once again outside of the top ten at the conclusion to last month's second pre-season test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

Rossi was a massive 1.8s behind Stoner in Sepang as he's made an instant impact in the Repsol Honda squad after he left Ducati at the end of 2010.

Rossi's preparations haven't been helped by his recovery from a lingering right shoulder problem but Stoner is expecting the 32-year-old to come good.

Stoner, who won 23 races for Ducati and romped to a brilliant title success in 2007, said: "I was second in the last race of last year with Ducati and for me it was working well at the end of the season, but we struggled for most of last year. At the moment they have new things to test and make a new balance with different equipment, so I don't think they are so worried."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt