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October 1, 2009

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Stoner set for return at Estoril

AUSTRALIA'S Casey Stoner will make his return to MotoGP racing at this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix after missing the last three rounds with a mystery illness.

Stoner, the 2007 world champion, has spent the past two months in Australia undergoing tests after complaining of exhaustion but has been cleared to start riding again.

While the tests were inconclusive, the results showed he was suffering from low blood pressure levels and a lack of sodium. Doctors believe this may have been caused by overtraining and the after-effects of injuries and surgery over the last few years.

"We are really pleased that Casey is back with us. We never had any doubt that he would be with us once again at Estoril," Stoner's Ducati team said in a statement.

"We know that he is still not in 100 percent peak fitness and we just hope that over the last four races of the season he can gradually build his strength."

Stoner briefly led this year's championship standings after winning two of the first five races and was running third when he was forced to take a break. He has since slipped back to fourth place, 87 points behind championship leader Valentino Rossi of Yamaha.

"The doctors have put me on some salt tablets to increase my sodium levels but we will have to see if it helps. We will understand more during the weekend," Stoner said.

"Of course it's going to be difficult. At first we won't know if it will work because I've been off the bike so long that in any case my muscles will take some time to get race fit again."


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