Sepang MotoGP: Casey Stoner targets 10th win

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Casey Stoner is confident he can overcome Repsol Honda team-mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso to claim a 10th win of 2011 in tomorrow’s Sepang MotoGP race.

Repsol Honda took a clean sweep of the front row for the first time since 1997 today and Stoner will be sandwiched in between Pedrosa and Dovizioso on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s 20-lap race after he qualified in second position with a best lap of 2.01.491.

In searing temperatures that soared to over 30 degrees, Stoner finished just 0.029s behind Pedrosa, who bounced back from a crash at the last corner earlier in qualifying to claim only his second pole position of the campaign.

Stoner said he wasn’t too concerned about Pedrosa’s pace with the Spaniard also heading all three practice sessions as well as qualifying.

He said: “Things look a little worse than what they actually are for us. We’ve been running a hard tyre all weekend to try and get a good feeling with it. We’ve slowly made progress, but we haven’t made enough improvement.

"So we’ve still got a little bit of work to do before the race, but our race pace isn’t too far off. By the time I went to the soft tyre this afternoon, we were able to run some pretty good lap times.

"I felt like I could’ve gone a little bit quicker but on the last lap I lost the front in the first turn. I tried to pick it up and get it straight back in, but I couldn’t get the front tyre to grip again. So we lost that last lap and unfortunately we couldn’t get pole.

"We're struggling to get the balance on the bike right. We get the rear a little better, but then we lose the turning in the front and a little bit of instability on the bumps.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt