Casey Stoner insists that the Ducati team can be proud of its MotoGP season as the Australian heads to Valencia this weekend for the final round of the 2008 campaign.
The outgoing champion will finish the season in second place in the riders standings behind Valentino Rossi regardless of the result in Spain and will once again be forced to ride through the pain barrier with his injured hand – which he admitted had caused him problems during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
As the venue where he took his maiden 125cc win back in 2003, Stoner has fond memories of the Spanish circuit and will now look to end his MotoGP campaign on a high.
Reflecting on the year as whole, Stoner admitting it had been a mixed bag but said the Ducati team could be proud of how it had performed.
"The last race tends to make you reflect on the whole season and I think we can be proud of ourselves, even though there have been highs and lows," he said. "We didn't win the championship but we fought hard for it, making up and then losing a lot of ground, staying together through all of it and always giving our best.
"We'll try to keep that going at Valencia, a track I have always liked because even though it is tight and twisty it does flow well, with some long corners where you can keep the speed of the bike up. Valencia is also the place where I took my first victory and where I rode the Ducati for the very first time back in 2006."
Following the race weekend, Stoner will get his first taste of the new Ducati GP9 during a scheduled two-day test before undergoing surgery on the scaphoid injury to his left wrist.
Admitting he can't wait to test the new bike, Stoner added he was hopeful that the injury wouldn't hamper his chances in either the race weekend or during the test.
Stoner has already delayed having surgery on his wrist in order to take part in the session.
"This year we'll ride the GP9 on the day after the race and I really can't wait for that," he said. "I hope the wrist doesn't give me the same problems I had at Sepang so that I can be in shape for a good race on Sunday and two solid days of testing on Monday and Tuesday."