Casey Stoner hopes his second pole position in the last three MotoGP races will silence continued questions about his illness earlier in the season.
The former world champion sat out three events to recover from a debilitating condition that was forcing him to slow midrace as stomach cramps and sickness took effect. He returned at Estoril, and went on to win in both Australia and Malaysia, before taking his third pole of the year at Valencia today.
"It's quite funny, because a lot of people have been saying that I haven't given a good enough reason for my problems in the middle of the season," Stoner told Italia1. "I gave two medical reasons. We fixed these reasons and we fixed the problems. It's so much better for me to come to a track like this and each day become better and better. I'm so happy to be back up here again."
He was surprised to end up on pole given that his best time had been set on the harder Bridgestones. "For sure, I didn't think the lap time would be good enough, but we managed to put it on pole position with the race tires, so I'm looking good," said Stoner, who beat Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo by just over 0.2 seconds. The Ducati rider said he was delighted with how his bike is handling on the race rubber. "I'm really happy with it, it's working really well for us," Stoner said. "We did over 30 laps on a set of tires this afternoon."
He said his only challenge had been the windy weather at the track today. "All weekend the conditions have been pretty difficult," he said. "Friday was quite good but the track was a little dirty at the beginning. This morning the wind picked up so much that it's really played havoc with all our settings. So if it's not windy for the race tomorrow, then we're going to have to really re-think our setup because we've put a lot more weight on the front, as with this wind it wants to pick the front end up higher. As far as I've heard, the weather's going to be fine and sunny tomorrow, but quite windy, so hopefully we've got the setup for that."
Stoner has now been fastest in every session so far this weekend, but does not think he will run away with the grand prix. "We'll have to see what the race holds because there's going to be a lot of people going for the last win of the season and it's going to be hard work," he said.