Casey Stoner returned to the MotoGP rostrum in only his second race following his comeback from injury as the reigning champion took third at Sepang.

Stoner played it safe in the early stages in the difficult conditions, but once the Repsol Honda star settled into a rhythm he began to close the gap to championship leader Jorge Lorenzo in second place before the race was halted with seven laps still to run due to deteriorating weather conditions.

The gritty Aussie revealed afterwards that he had considered sitting out the race to avoid damaging his injured foot further with an increased risk of a fall in the rain in Malaysia.

"To be honest I highly considered not doing the race today at all," he said.

"With the foot injury it's so easy to crash and if I tweak my foot at all that's me out of the rest of the season.

"So I've been trying to avoid all the wet sessions that I can, so I can stay in the best possible shape and dry riding is the best chance for us."

Stoner said his confidence level was non-existent at the beginning of the race and conceded he had no chance of matching the pace of team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo in the first part of the race.

"At the start of the race I had absolutely no confidence," said Stoner.

"I haven't ridden in the wet for a long time. I was just trying to keep myself ahead of people, braking late and trying to get nice clean exits.

"But there was no way I could run the pace of [Lorenzo and Pedrosa] at the beginning.

"As the race went on I got a little more confidence to go harder and then when the rain started coming down, it's always sort of my playground.

"When it's heavy rain we can normally find a bit higher pace than anyone else," he added.

"In all honesty if the race had gone through to the full distance we had a very good chance of winning it. But it worked out the way it did and we have to live with that.

"Anyway, it was nice to feel slightly competitive today."


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