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Monday, September 10, 2012

Stoner expected at Phillip Island

Organisers of the Australian MotoGP expect injured home hero Casey Stoner to return in time to fight for a sixth and final Phillip Island victory.

Stoner took just one podium during his first six home appearances - in the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP classes - but has been unbeaten in the premier-class since 2007.

The double world champion is to retire at the end of this year and saw his 2012 title hopes end due to a serious ankle injury, for which he is currently recovering after surgery.

However Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott is confident Stoner will be back on his Repsol Honda in time for the penultimate round of the year, on October 26-28.

“First and foremost Casey's health is paramount. We are thrilled to hear that he is recovering well from surgery and that he is looking forward to his home race,” said Westacott.

“Casey is a remarkable individual and his achievements in MotoGP speak volumes. For him to come back so quickly from such a serious injury is a credit to himself and the medical team who have supported him.”

Stoner, who will be replaced by Honda's World Superbike star Jonathan Rea at this weekend's Misano round and almost certainly again at Aragon later this month, is yet to give a precise date for his MotoGP return.

Most expect the Australian to return for the flyaway rounds, starting with Honda's home Japanese Grand Prix on October 14-16, which would give Stoner two races to prepare for Phillip Island.

Although not specifically confirming his presence at Phillip Island, Stoner has again underlined his commitment to return before the end of the season.

"My goal is to get back on the bike, for it to end like this would be a disaster for me," Stoner said.

“I'll see it through to the end. I'll be back as soon as I can to finish as many races as I can before the end of the season.

"Even now with the operation, with the damage done, my ankle probably is never going to be back to 100 per cent.”

Stoner's injury has left team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in a direct battle for the 2012 title, with six rounds to go.


World Superbikes winner MSMW2012