Casey Stoner eager to assess injured ankle in Japan

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Casey Stoner says it will be crucial to understand the strength and mobility in his injured right ankle as the Australian prepares for a much-anticipated return to MotoGP action in Japan this weekend.

The Repsol Honda rider has missed the last three races after his right ankle suffered serious ligament damage in a high speed crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis race in mid-August.

Having spent the last six weeks undergoing an intensive rehabilitation in Australia the double MotoGP world champion will be back on board his factory RC213V in Honda’s crucial home race at the Twin Ring Motegi this weekend.

And the former Ducati rider says it will be vital to gauge the condition of his ankle when practice gets underway on Friday.

Stoner, who has won four races in 2012, said: “The last six weeks have been pretty tough for me. I’ve had to sit around and rest my ankle, get some physio and try to occupy my time.

“Thankfully I’ve had Ally around to keep me occupied. I’ve been watching the races at home, I felt bad for Dani (Pedrosa) in Misano, but these things can happen – as they did for Jorge (Lorenzo) in Assen.

“The Motegi circuit is very stop-start with a lot of hard braking and accelerating; it’s pretty tough on the body and physically quite demanding. The first session on Friday will be crucial to see how my ankle feels in the boot and the degree of movement I have and pressure I can apply”.

This weekend’s Japanese round is the start of a punishing flyaway triple-header that also takes in Sepang and Phillip Island.

Stoner was always determined to be back in action in Japan to try and build up his fitness ahead of a bid to win his home race at Phillip Island for an unprecedented sixth time.

It will be Stoner’s final appearance in front of his home crowd before he retires at the end of the season.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt