Stoner 'in much stronger shape'

Autosport

Casey Stoner believes he will be in much better shape in Malaysia this weekend than he was in his MotoGP comeback race in Japan.

In his first race back since the surgery on his Indianapolis injury, Stoner qualified seventh and finished fifth at Motegi a week ago.

But after taking second place in Friday practice at Sepang behind Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, Stoner said his ankle was far less troublesome so far this weekend.

"I definitely feel more comfortable here than I did in Japan," said Stoner.

"I'm not sure if this is time on the bike or the fact that this track isn't quite so demanding on my right leg.

"The circuit goes to the right a lot, but there aren't so many slow corners that I need to pick the bike up from and I'm getting a better feeling here so the laptimes came easier."

Although the afternoon session was spoilt by rain, Stoner said he learned enough in the morning to feel confident about his Sepang prospects.

"We still have quite a bit of work to do and I don't think we are anywhere near the pace that we need to be but the first session went very well and hopefully we can continue in this way for the remainder of the weekend," he said.

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