Casey Stoner expects strong home challenge in Jerez

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Casey Stoner has admitted facing a difficult challenge to repeat his stunning debut win for Honda in this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP clash.

The Australian made a dream start to his HRC career earlier this month in Qatar when he claimed a brilliant victory on the new RC212V machine ahead of reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

But he heads to Jerez having only claimed one premier class podium at the Andalucía venue in 2009 when he was third on board the factory Ducati GP9.

And Lorenzo and Stoner’s Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa will pose a formidable threat on home soil, with the pair likely to be supported by a partisan and passionate home crowd of over 100,000 fans.

The challenge that Lorenzo and Pedrosa are capable of mounting is recognised by Stoner as he aims to break his victory duck in MotoGP at Jerez.

The 2007 world champion said: “Things have never really gone right for me at Jerez but I've never held it against the circuit. I've always gone back the following year optimistic and I'm going to do the same this year.

"The way this bike works I should be able to run a little closer to the front and hopefully it would be great if I can fight for the win. But on the podium in Qatar were two guys who are bloody quick around that track, so it won't be easy.

"Jorge had a fantastic race last year and Dani was very fast with a bike that he was struggling with a little bit at that time of the season. We're going there against two very competitive people and I think we can expect others there as well.

"So we have to keep our feet on the ground and try and do the best job we can at a strange circuit for me.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt