After finishing a subdued fifth on his MotoGP return from ankle surgery, Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner hopes to feel stronger this weekend at Sepang in Malaysia, another very physically demanding track.

The soon-to-retire double world champion, who celebrates his 27th birthday today (Tuesday), has won in all three classes at Sepang, including MotoGP triumphs for Ducati in 2007 and 2009.

Last year's race was cancelled following the tragic accident for Marco Simoncelli and Stoner admits it will be a strange feeling when they all take to track.

"After a disappointing race in Japan, I'm looking forward to going to Malaysia, it's a track where I've had success at in the past," said Stoner.

"However, this weekend marks the anniversary of Marco's death so I'm sure it will be a strange feeling when we all get on track.

"It's going to be a hot weekend and it's a physically demanding circuit, my ankle isn't feeling very good after the race in Japan so I'll be resting it as much as possible this week before going on track on Friday.

"The track is a little smoother and more flowing so hopefully I won't have so many issues as I had in Japan."

Stoner - who had qualified second on the grid, behind team-mate Dani Pedrosa, for last year's race - set the pace during winter testing at Sepang, when he smashed the two-minute barrier with the new 1000cc RC213V.

Stoner starts this weekend still holding third in the championship, but is now just five points ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso.


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