For the first time in MotoGP, it looks like new Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner has team-mates that are able to get close to him in terms of speed.

Stoner was fastest over all three days at last week's second Sepang test, but with team-mate Dani Pedrosa in second each day and just 0.138sec behind the Australian overall. Andrea Dovizioso was fifth, third and fourth. asked Stoner what he thought about having close competition from within his own pit garage.

"For me it's good," Stoner replied. "When we're off the track we're team-mates and when we're on track they are other competitors.

"It's been the same for me my whole career. You concentrate on your side of the garage and that's all that matters.

"The fact that I have two other guys in the garage with me doesn't change anything. But, yeah, it's definitely interesting [how close we are].

"We finished 1-2-3 on day two and almost again on the other days... It could be a colourful season!" he smiled.

Stoner was the lone LCR Honda rider during his rookie 2006 MotoGP season, then was rarely troubled by team-mates Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden during four years at Ducati.

The Australian won 23 races and the 2007 world championship during his time on a Desmosedici, compared with one race win for all his team-mates combined - a wet/dry victory for Capirossi at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix.



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