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This weekend sees Casey Stoner return to MotoGP for the first time since Indianapolis, where he was injured in mid-August. The Champion, retiring at the end of the season, is now presented with the task of helping Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa to win the world title as well as clinching victories for himself.
“It's going to be great to see all my team and get back on my bike in Motegi this weekend,” the Australian says on Tuesday. “The last six weeks have been pretty tough for me; I've had to sit around and rest my ankle, get some physio and try to occupy my time - thankfully I've had (wife) Ally around to keep me occupied.
“I've been watching the races at home. I felt bad for Dani in Misano, but these things can happen - as they did for Jorge (Lorenzo) at Assen. The Motegi circuit is very stop-start, with a lot of hard braking and accelerating; it's pretty tough on the body and physically quite demanding.
“The first session on Friday will be crucial to see how my ankle feels in the boot, the degree of movement I have and pressure I can apply.”
After Japan, the sport will move on to Malaysia and then Stoner’s home event at Phillip Island, which he is more than keen to win before bowing out of MotoGP.
Repsol Honda Team
|Repsol Honda Team|
|19 May||Pedrosa takes second win of the season|
|18 May||Marquez takes second career pole at Le Mans|
|18 May||Marquez fastest in third practice at Le Mans|
|17 May||Pedrosa stays fastest in second practice|
|2012 Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix|
|14 Oct '12||Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Motegi|
|14 Oct '12||Pedrosa wins dramatic Japanese Grand Prix|
|13 Oct '12||Motegi retains MotoGP until 2018|
|13 Oct '12||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Motegi|
|2 Mar||Stoner impresses on V8 Supercars debut|
|26 Jan||Stoner confirms move to V8 Supercars|
|20 Jan||Stoner set to make V8 Supercars switch|
|12 Dec '12||Phillip Island gets 1.9 million pound upgrade|
|19 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Le Mans|
|19 May||Lorenzo fastest in Le Mans warm-up practice|
|18 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Le Mans|
|17 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Le Mans|
|More Casey Stoner photos|