MotoGP champion Casey Stoner is optimistic about his chances in the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa having had an edge all weekend.
Pedrosa topped all three practice sessions and took pole, but by qualifying Stoner was only 0.029sec off the Spaniard's pace. Stoner said he had been working on some minor issues through the weekend and was now pleased with his bike.
"All weekend we've been working on the hard tire and getting it to work," said Stoner. "We seem OK on it, but we've been struggling to get the balance between the bike – we get the rear better, but then we lose the turn-in on the front and get a little bit of instability on these bumps.
"Once we put the soft tire on we found a huge improvement. A lot of people have been running the soft tire this weekend and I think it's still capable of doing the race distance. In general we seem quite happy. I think we can improve a little bit before tomorrow, but our race pace is OK."
He added that the race would be one of the most physically challenging of the year.
"With this humidity and heat over the weekend, it's going to be a tough race for sure," said Stoner. "But we feel good going into the race. I didn't do as many laps today as I'd like to, but it might be better for me for tomorrow. We'll see what we can do."