Stoner on road to full recovery

The former world champion, Casey Stoner, is expected to start light training in two weeks' time following his wrist operation.

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The former world champion, Casey Stoner, is expected to start light training in two weeks' time following his wrist operation. Stoner, 23, who stayed in Europe for the first phase of his recovery from an operation on his left wrist in late October, was keen to link up with the team at the test in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, albeit as a spectator.

His Ducati team began their final MotoGP test session of the year on Wednesday with the new signing Nicky Hayden and factory test rider Vittoriano Guareschi taking to the track, while Stoner was forced to watch from the sidelines. "Yesterday the doctors told me that everything is going OK with my wrist, now I must wait and see. With the new cast they did yesterday I will be able to start some training on a pushbike, so that is positive," Stoner said.

"In a few days I'll be heading back to Australia and it will be nice to be home for a while. It was a very strange feeling to be watching today instead of riding. This is probably the longest period I've gone without riding a bike at all since I was three-years-old." Despite being sidelined due to injury, Stoner is already looking forward to next season as he hopes to regain the title he lost to the Italian Valentino Rossi.

"I'll definitely have a lot of motivation to get back on track in February. It is good to watch the bikes on track together with my engineers and then speak about it with Filippo [Preziosi] and Nicky, to share our feelings and see what we can do to improve our machine for next season," he said. Rossi clocked the second-fastest time in testing and could not be happier with the way the new bike is progressing.

"I am happy about this first day because my performance has been good from the beginning and I have been fast all day," he said. "We have tried some different things on the old 2008 bike and we were able to make some improvements and then we also tested several new things on the prototype bike, and I am happy because I did my fastest lap with this bike." Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa posted the fastest time in the final test session of the year before the testing ban that gets under way on Dec 1 and runs until Jan 20.

* PA Sport