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May, 30, 2016

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Casey Stoner looks to bounce back in Italy

MUGELLO, Italy -- World champion Casey Stoner is determined to bounce straight back in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix after last weekend's crash at the Sachsenring dealt a blow to his hopes of defending his crown in his final season.

The Australian crashed out with two bends of the final lap remaining in Germany, in a race won by teammate Dani Pedrosa.

The main beneficiary of Stoner's spill was Yamaha's former champion Jorge Lorenzo who was gifted the runner-up spot to move clear at the top of the riders standings on 160 points.

Pedrosa climbed into second on 146 with Stoner on 140.

"I've always liked Mugello, we've enjoyed some pretty good results there. Last year didn't go to plan but we know what we did wrong so hopefully this year we can be a little more competitive," said Stoner, who was third last year.

"I really enjoy the fast corners there. There are a lot of areas where we get a lot of wheel spin and a lot of fast changes of direction. It's not a small dinky little track that you can't use these bikes on; it's actually somewhere where you can open the throttle up and actually get to full throttle."

"After a disappointing race in Sachsenring, I want to get back on the bike and take some points back in the Championship."

Pedrosa, who now lies second in the championship after his maiden win of the season in Germany, earlier in the day confirmed he has signed a two-year contract extension with Honda.

His new teammate will be current Moto2 championship leader Marc Marquez, who will replace the retiring Stoner.

"It was great to win the race (in Germany), the feeling was so good. And after that Honda and myself announced that we will continue together," said Pedrosa.

"This is great news for me, because I've been many years with Honda since I started racing. I have always raced Repsol Honda. For us to continue it's great and we are hoping to continue in a strong way, also now in the second half of the championship."

He added: "Here is a great track for us. Last year doesn't count much because I wasn't so fit, but two years ago I won the race here, so I'm pretty confident here. The Honda is normally good here. We hope to do a good job and to do a good race."

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