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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Stoner promises aggressive return

Casey Stoner
Stoner says he is well on the way back to fitness after surgery

Former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner says he will be more aggressive than ever when he returns to racing in the 2009 season after wrist surgery.

The Ducati rider finished runner-up to Valentino Rossi last year after the injury to his left wrist hampered his chances of retaining his title.

"Everything's fine, though my movements are a little restricted," he said.

"I'm at 80% but I hope to be practically 100% for the first tests in February. I'll be more aggressive."

Having clocked up 10 race wins on his way to the world title in 2007, Stoner won six times in 2008 but admitted he had failed to live up to his own expectations.

"At the start of the year I thought I'd be stronger than in 2007," he said.

"(But) the end of the season was very difficult with my injury as I couldn't brake hard going into the bends.

"In 2009, I shan't have to change my tactics but I will be more aggressive overtaking."

Stoner's team-mate for 2009 will be another former world champion, 2006 title-winner Nicky Hayden, who has moved from Repsol Honda, and the Australian said he was looking forward to working alongside his new colleague.

Nicky Hayden (left) and Casey Stoner (right)
Former champions Hayden (left) and Stoner (right) are friends off the track

"Nicky's always been very good to me. We'll try to adapt his bike as well as possible. As we're both English-speakers communication will be easier," he said.

Hayden, who had a famously frosty relationship with team-mate Dani Pedrosa at Honda, said he did not anticipate there being any clashes of ego between the two former world champions.

"The team wants us to work together and to help one another. They are giving me what I need to go quickly and it's up to me to do my job," he said.

"I think my style of riding will adapt well to the machine, plus I've always got on well with Casey. I think we'll form a strong team."

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see also
Stoner undergoes wrist operation
01 Nov 08 |  Motorbikes
Matt Roberts' MotoGP round-up
29 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP review
27 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Stoner romps to season finale win
26 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Superb Stoner wins in Australia
05 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi celebrates 'toughest title'
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi roars to sixth world title
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
26 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes

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