Casey Stoner heads into the second round of the 2012 MotoGP season this weekend at Jerez looking forward to a better race than he had at the season opener at Qatar.
The Jerez circuit served as the final pre-season testing venue of 2012. As he had done most of the pre-season, the Repsol Honda rider was dominant, setting the fastest lap time on two of the three days.
The pre-season test is now of little consequence to Stoner. Though he has done well in the past in Jerez, he is yet to win at the venue and it was also the scene of his lone blemish on an otherwise spotless record of podium finishes in every race last year.
It was at Jerez that he was knocked down by another rider and forced to retire.
"We had a very good pre-season test there; it's a track that hasn't been so good for me in the past so the fact we were able to hold a good pace there in testing has given us a lot of confidence." said Stoner
To do that the team will have to come up with a solution to the front chatter problem that has bedevilled most of the MotoGP paddock, and Stoner in particular. But while he has been resting the team has been working and he is confident he can return to his winning ways in Jerez. And extend his podium streak to 17.
"We still have some issues that we really need to resolve with the bike, especially the chattering in the entrance and exit of the corner. When we solve these we believe we will have a very competitive package." explained the Australian.
"Since Qatar I've been working on the arm pump issue I experienced in the race and it's definitely feeling better. We've treated it the same way as when I had it in 2010 at Silverstone, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem for us this weekend." the current world champion continued.
"After a difficult race in Qatar, I'm looking forward to Jerez. “concluded Stoner.
Pedrosa will be looking to go one better than his second place result at Qatar - Credit: Honda Pro Racing
Stoners Repsol Honda team mate Danni Pedrosa will make his 100th appearance in the Premier MotoGP class when he takes to the start line on his home country at the Jerez circuit.
Coming of his successful second place finish under the desert lights in Qatar, Pedrosa is looking forward to the first of his four home races, and continuing his enviable record at Jerez.
He has finished no worse than second in every race going back to 2005. The tally includes a MotoGP win in 2008, five seconds, and a 250cc win in his second world championship season of 2005. Included in that string are six front row starts, with two MotoGP poles and a 250cc pole.
"We had a great race in Qatar and to start the season on the podium is important, but we cannot relax. We will be aiming for another strong race this weekend." said Pedrosa.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Jerez for the grand prix this weekend. We need to be very focused and have a good qualifying session in order to start the race in a good position." he explained.
"I love the Jerez circuit and the passionate support of the Spanish fans. I hope the grandstands are full again, as it adds to the unique atmosphere there." he concluded.
Main Photo : Casey Stoner will be looking for better luck at Jerez this season after being taken out of the race in 2011 Credit: Honda Pro Racing