Having banished his mid-season fatigue with 2-1 race results since his MotoGP comeback, Casey Stoner is looking forward to a fight at Sepang this weekend.
The punishing Malaysian heat will provide the toughest test of the year for Stoner's physical fitness, but the Ducati star is confident he will be up to the task - and is enjoying racing once again.
“That last race was fantastic for us. In Portugal we had a great race and then Phillip Island just topped it off. Everything worked well, including my body,” said Stoner.
“I'm looking forward to this weekend now. It seems like an age since I was actually looking forward to racing. Those races [earlier in the year] where we knew we couldn't win were just depressing.
“Now I'm really looking forward to a fight this weekend. There are half a dozen riders that all go really well at this circuit. If we all get the bikes set-up well it's going to be a hard race at the front.
“I hope I can at least get a podium. I'm definitely looking forward to it.”
Stoner starts the penultimate round having retaken third in the championship by six points from Dani Pedrosa, after his third victory of the season at home in Australia last weekend.
When asked what his priority for the two remaining races now is, the 2007 world champion stated that his only concern is to try and win races.
“I'm riding only for race wins,” said Stoner. “We're all here to try and become world champion, that's what everyone is striving for. The championship has gone for me so now it's about trying to win as many races as we can.
“It's been a disastrous season, we missed three races and I think we should be pretty happy to be in the position we are now. There's always the 'could've been, should've been' but it's not like that.
“We're not fighting for the championship so we may as well fight for race wins.”
Stoner and Rossi are both tied on 19 800cc race wins.