Stoner not riding 100% yet
STILL HEALING: Honda MotoGP rider Casey Stoner broke his right ankle in a crash during qualifying at Indianapolis in August 2012 and reckons he still isn't healed for his home race on Sunday October 28 2012.
MELBOURNE, Australia - Casey Stoner knows confidence and time are in short supply as the double MotoGP World champion prepares for his tilt at a record sixth consecutive - and last - Australian MotoGP victory.
Stoner needed surgery after breaking his right ankle in a crash during qualifying at Indianapolis in August 2012 and although he returned for the previous two races in Japan and Malaysia, the 27-year-old knows he needs more time to fully recover.
TIME RUNNING OUT
With retirement looming in November, however, time is not on Stoner's side. "There is a bloody good reason why I can't ride like I really want to," he said. "I know I'm not 100% and to win at this level everything has to be very close to 100% to feel fantastic.
"So for Phillip Island (Melbourne) I really don't know what to expect." He felt something was "holding him back".
Stoner has 37 MotoGP wins, was fifth in Japan on his return from injury and while he took third in Malaysia a week earlier he admitted he lacked the confidence to challenge for the win in wet weather.
"The thing is, I'm not fully healed. Most people would have waited a lot longer before coming back - I should have but I can't. I haven't got much time left before the end of my season," he added.
"If I were in much better shape and I crashed and hit my foot it would not be a problem but, if I do that now, then I'm going to put myself back another four or five months. If I dislocate it again, I'm in strife. We are talking broken ligaments - not just torn.
"Last Sunday, in Sepang, I went thinking I'd just go around carefully, finish the race and not take any risks."
Stoner, out of the championship race, will have Turn 3 at the Phillip Island track named after him at a ceremony on today (Oct 25). His final MotoGP race will be in Valencia, Spain, in November 2012.
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo is at the top of the points standings on 330 ahead of fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa of Honda on 307. Stoner is third on 213.