Stoner: Illness is no longer an issue

Casey Stoner believes he has now put the illness that interrupted his season behind him, and will also be able to respond faster if it re-occurs later in his career

Stoner: Illness is no longer an issue

The former world champion struggled for fitness in the first part of the championship, then sat out three races in the summer to try and recuperate. He finished second on his return at Estoril two weeks ago, despite still being uncertain about his condition at the start of the event.

Stoner now says he is in great shape for this weekend's Australian GP and feels reinvigorated by his performance in Portugal.

"To still be able to put in a low 1m37s on the last lap of the race was such a good feeling - we haven't had that in such a long time," he said.

"When we think about it, we've had this problem for a lot longer than we thought we did, it just really made itself show in a hot race like Catalunya, and from then on we just struggled.

"It's been very nice to sort it out and come here with a new enthusiasm for racing.

"I was training before Estoril, just lightly on the bike, and we found the same problems as we had through those five races. We trained again after Estoril and felt 100 per cent, no problem. So we definitely feel like we're in better condition than in Portugal, and hopefully we can get in a little bit better condition before we hit Valencia.

"Every weekend we do from now on is just going to make us better and better again, to the point where we just don't have an issue. After we've figured out what this is, I don't think we're going to have something strange like this happen to us again - and if so, we'll jump on top of it immediately."

He is confident that Ducati has a bike capable of beating the Yamahas - which have dominated most of the season - and is sad that his illness prevented him from showing the bike's full potential earlier in the year.

"We know our package works a lot better here than it does in Portugal, and even in Portugal it was fantastic," said Stoner. "So we'll see what we can pull off this weekend, and hopefully we can be running up front.

"At those five races where I was struggling, the bike was working so well. It was really at a very good level and it was just me that was letting everyone down.

"It's nice that we can come back and know that we've got a chance of winning the next three races."

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Yamaha domination is over, say riders

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