Despite the apparent diagnosis of his mystery illness, and the fastest lap time in wet/dry Friday practice in Germany, Casey Stoner's physical condition feels the same as at previous rounds.

As a result the Ducati Marlboro star - just 16 points behind Valentino Rossi and the world championship lead despite sickness and/or weakness at the last three rounds - is hoping for further rain at the Sachsenring to soften the physical exertion.

Stoner's team said that detailed medical tests after the recent Laguna Seca round had indicated that the 2007 world champion is suffering from 'slight gastritis and mild anaemia' - an explanation Stoner appears unconvinced by. Either way, treatment is yet to make a noticeable difference.

"Physically I feel the same as I did at this stage in the last few races so if it rains again tomorrow it would probably be beneficial to me because I'm sure it would leave me in better shape for the race and give us a much better chance of challenging for the win," he declared.

One thing Stoner has no doubts about is the capability of his Desmosedici, which he has praised throughout his illness.

"The bike seems to be working well, we had to change a few small things - like the seat, to make it a bit more comfortable - but generally over the last three races it has been great and I'm quite happy with it here," said Stoner, who was 0.255sec faster than nearest rival Dani Pedrosa.

"We're improving the GP9 step by step and I think you can see that by Nicky [Hayden's] recent results, which I'm really pleased about."

Hayden was eighth fastest, but appeared at the top in both the wet and dry.


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