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MOTOGP NEWS 

Stoner confident of stronger race pace

Casey Stoner, Ducati, SepangCasey Stoner expects to make progress through the field in the Malaysian Grand Prix after only qualifying fifth.

Having won the last two races at Aragon and Motegi, Ducati rider Stoner was expected to be a strong contender for victory at Sepang as well. But he was unhappy with his pace in practice, and while his team-mate Nicky Hayden made massive strides today and only just missed out on pole, Stoner had to settle for a second-row spot.

"I'm a little disappointed with the way qualifying went today," said the Australian. "When I went to use the softer compound to set a qualifying lap on we lost feeling completely. There was no traction on the rear yet it was still pushing the front at the same time."

But while his qualifying pace was disappointing, Stoner is confident he will be in better shape in race trim.

"We made a little progress with the race setting on the harder tyre," he said. "We didn't get a lot of laps in but we are happy with the work we did on the bike and feel reasonably confident.

"We couldn't do the lap time we wanted or even deserved but we know our pace is faster than a couple of the guys in front of us on the grid so we'll see if we can get past them in the race."

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