Stoner set for first lap attack at GP - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stoner set for first lap attack at GP

By Robert Grant 16/09/2006 07:33:07 PM Comments (0)

Local hero Casey Stoner is banking on an opening lap burst to catch the frontrunners in Sunday's Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Stoner, 20, will start from the third row of the grid in eighth spot, behind pacesetting American Nicky Hayden, the MotoGP series leader who snatched pole position on Saturday ahead of Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano with Yamaha's world champion Valentino Rossi.

"There's not a lot of passing opportunities so I think you have to be aggressive on the first lap," Stoner said.

"Hopefully I can get another good start but it's not a very big run to the first turn unfortunately."

But the Australian, sixth in the championship standings, declared himself happy with his position after struggling to find a suitable race tyre over the past two days.

"Considering I did most of my qualifying on the soft tyres I was reasonably happy with today, we're not too far from the pace," he said.

"We'll see in the morning how it turns out, we didn't get a lot of time on the race tyres before the set up, so we'll try a little bit more tomorrow morning and we might have to make a few adjustments.

"We've had stuff thrown all over us every session, even this afternoon, another new tyre and we were trying to get that working but we couldn't get a good feeling out of it.

"I think Valentino might have been using something similar and he had a good feeling but it just wasn't working for our bike."

Stoner said he was now fully recovered from a minor back complaint, which he suffered during last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

"There are no problems, I've had a little but of physio from a guy here and he's done a really good job," he said.

LCR Honda team boss Lucio Cecchinello said the team had worked hard to produce a good result.

"I'm very happy with the work of the team because yesterday we were a bit lost, considering the problems," Cecchinello said.

"Today we made a big step and in this position we are really happy."

Suzuki's Australian rookie Chris Vermeulen finished 16th and, like Stoner, had tyre troubles.

"I've had my worst two positions of the year in the last two races - both 16th - but I did come up to 11th in the last race in Sepang and I'm feeling a lot healthier this weekend," Vermeulen said.

"We couldn't use a qualifying tyre today, even the race tyres are not working well around here for me.

"It's been hard work but we have made the bike better," he said.

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