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First practice 'crucial' for Stoner at Motegi

Returning Repsol Honda MotoGP star Casey Stoner believes the opening free practice session at Motegi will be crucial in assessing how far he has progresses since he badly injured his ankle in a crash at Indianapolis.

The reigning world champion has spent the last six weeks recovering at home in Australia while Jonathan Rea rode his RC213V but he will be back in Japan and is looking forward to seeing just how well his rehabilitation has gone.

"It's going to be great to see all my team and get back on my bike in Motegi this weekend. The last 6 weeks have been pretty tough for me, I've had to sit around and rest my ankle, get some physio and try to occupy my time —thankfully I've had Ally around to keep me occupied. I've been watching the races at home, I felt bad for Dani [Pedrosa] in Misano, but these things can happen —as they did for Jorge [Lorenzo] in Assen," said Stoner.

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"The Motegi circuit is very stop-start with a lot of hard braking and accelerating, it's pretty tough on the body and physically quite demanding. The first session on Friday will be crucial to see how my ankle feels in the boot and the degree of movement I have and pressure I can apply.”

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