Casey Stoner says he is not concerned about already being 25 points behind Valentino Rossi following his crash in the Qatar season opener, and thinks he has a great chance of making up for it by taking a first Spanish Grand Prix win at Jerez this weekend.
After winning at Losail for three straight seasons, Stoner crashed while leading in this year's first round three weeks ago, with arch-rival Rossi going on to win. Yet Stoner is confident that he was on course for an easy win prior to his error, so is encouraged by Ducati's pace even though he has yet to score.
"I was surprised, and a little disappointed, of course," he said. "But I was happy with the fact that we should've won that one. It wouldn't have been difficult. We can always gain confidence from that."
He said the points deficit is irrelevant at this stage. "It's not really something to think about now," said Stoner. "I know I've made up much bigger gaps than that in the past.
"The fact that I didn't win the first race might be a good indication of what can happen this season. I've won there the last three years, but the last two seasons have ended up disasters. So, hopefully, we can just move on from there and make this the start of our season.
"It's not until the end of the season that you need to start racing for a championship. Now it's about racing for race wins, and that's what we're going to try and do."
Stoner has traditionally struggled at Jerez, the venue for round two this weekend, but thinks the 2010 Ducati will give him a shot at victory in Spain.
"I want to go for the win this year," he declared. "In the past it's been basically damage limitation at this track, because we've just never been able to cut it. We've had a good lap or two where we've been fine, but trying to string some laps together, we've just struggled. Last year we didn't have grip, the year before that the engine characteristic just didn't want to work.
"This year, we've finally got everything together and I should have a chance here. I believe we've got a better chance than ever of winning this race. Whether we get the result or not, we're just going to have to see, but I'm looking forward to it."