Casey Stoner makes his return to MotoGP after three races away in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, restoring Repsol Honda to full strength for their home event. The reigning world champion broke his ankle at Indianapolis and has been forced to watch the title battle leave him behind but is happy to be back for the final four races of his career.
“It’s going to be great to see all my team and get back on my bike in Motegi this weekend. The last 6 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 in Misano, but these things can happen – as they did for Jorge 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”.
Dani Pedrosa is likely to be Honda’s best bet for a home victory, one that he needs to keep his title hopes alive. Despite his win at Aragon, Pedrosa still trails Jorge Lorenzo by 33 points with four races to go but is refusing to give up just yet.
“Motegi is a race I always look forward to. It’s the most important weekend for Honda and I really enjoy the circuit. We have now the most demanding period of races ahead, but we will keep taking things step by step, thinking race by race. I love Motegi, it’s a track with strong braking and strong acceleration. You must work very hard for the anti-wheelie, handling with the throttle, braking stability and good drive out of the corners. We had a good race there last year and we will work hard with the team to be as competitive as possible”.