Casey Stoner heads for his final MotoGP grand prix appearance at Valencia hoping he can emulate his Phillip Island heroics and bow out on a high.
The two-time champion announced that he would quit the sport at the end of the season back at Le Mans in May. While there has been continued speculation that he could be tempted back, Stoner recently insisted his MotoGP story would conclude at Valencia this weekend.
Hopes of a final year swansong were dashed by a heavy fall in qualifying back at Indianapolis in August. Although he managed to complete the weekend, finishing fourth in the race, he was then forced to miss the next three races in order to have surgery on his injuries. While that break ended his title hopes, it was not the herald of an ignoble end to a glorious career.
Stoner managed to make a comeback in Motegi, improved the following weekend at Sepang and then dominated his home event at Phillip Island, claiming his sixth straight win at the track. He hopes to carry such form into the final round and conclude his MotoGP career in fitting fashion.
"Valencia should be a little better for me again – not as good as Phillip Island, but I've always had great success there, many pole positions and race wins," Stoner said. "I hope we can be competitive there and with the track going left it should suit our bike and me a little better at this point.
"It's not going to be easy but it would be nice to get another good result in my final race in MotoGP."
Should the Australian win, he would equal Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa's total of six wins this season. He would also boost his own win count in the premier class to 39, a total unmatched by any other rider in the years Stoner has been competing.
Stoner won last year's race at Valencia, defeating Yamaha's Ben Spies by just 15 thousandths of a second.