Casey Stoner says he is feeling stronger and more confident with every day that passes since his return to MotoGP action.
The Australian skipped three races in order to recuperate from an illness, but since then has finished second in Portugal and first in his home race last weekend. Ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the Ducati rider says his confidence is rapidly growing.
"In the past I used to like racing in the heat but last year in Malaysia I was racing with a wrist injury and I've had the physical problems everybody knows about so I suppose it's a combination of factors that I have suffered with in recent hot races," said Stoner. "But at Phillip Island things went so well from a physical point of view that I feel reasonably confident. It will definitely be a tough race as being fast and consistent in those conditions is always difficult regardless.
"It is not easy to find the perfect set-up here but that's always been the case and with every day that passes I feel stronger and more confident that I can be competitive in both of the two races that remain.
"The track has become a little... boring for me, I suppose you could say – just because we have done so many laps here in testing – but the races are usually fun and I like the place. It has a kind of holiday feel to it and it puts you in a good mood."
Teammate Nicky Hayden is aiming to bounce back in Malaysia after a disappointing race at Phillip Island, although the American admits Sepang it not among his favourite tracks.
"I wouldn't say that Malaysia is one of my favorite circuits and it's almost as if I've got ownership on fourth place there because I finished in that position five times out of six," Hayden said. "Having said that if I were to manage fourth place this year I'd probably be more than happy.
"We've arrived here on the back of a disappointing weekend in terms of what might have been but that's over now and we have to look forward. I'm expecting the usual heat – having suffered from the cold in Australia it will be the opposite here – but it will be interesting to get back on track at a place we have tested at.
"Sepang is one of the circuits where I have ridden the bike the most, back in January, and we have made a lot of progress since then. Fortunately I'm faster now so it will be interesting to see where we're at."