Mike Stevens | Oct 15, 2009

AUSTRALIAN CASEY STONER hopes to go one better at Phillip Island this weekend after finishing second on his return from illness at Estoril in Portugal.

Stoner’s campaign to regain the MotoGP title was derailed after he suffered an illness which handicapped his performances, forcing the Ducati rider to take an extended break from Grand Prix circus.

But newly invigorated following his time away from the track, Stoner is excited to be back at Phillip Island and believes the cooler conditions will suit him.

Stoner said: “In Portugal I was able to get to the end of the race weekend without problems, just the predictable tiredness after a full MotoGP race, following two months of inactivity. So maybe I'll be a bit more ready for Phillip Island now.

“Besides that the temperature down there is a bit colder than other races we go to and that suits better my physical conditions at the moment. The track is awesome - it's fast, flowing and there isn't really a section that the riders don't enjoy.

“Normally races are fantastic there. I've had a dream run over the last couple of years but this one is going to be a little different so we have just to wait and see what we can do.”

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Meanwhile, Yamaha superstar Valentino Rossi is keen to bounce back at the Island as team mate Jorge Lorenzo closes in on the Italian’s championship lead.

Rossi currently sits 18 points clear of Lorenzo with three events to go, but with 25 points available for a victory, the title race is still wide open.

“Estoril was a great disappointment but we have to look at the positive and consider that we still came fourth and took 13 points in these conditions,” he said.

“I know that Yamaha have been studying the data very hard to understand what went wrong for us, and we hope that the situation in Phillip Island will be very different.

“I love this track and have some of the greatest memories of my career there and I really want to be in the best shape for this race. It's too long since I've won there!

“I think that the championship is going to be a great fight to the end with Lorenzo, but the next two tracks especially are two of my best.”

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