Casey Stoner is fully expecting his chief rivals to be back to their best in the coming season after he waltzed to the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. The Australian took the title by 90 points as Yamaha and particularly Ducati struggled in the final year of the 800cc bikes.
But it's all change for 2012 with the introduction of 1000cc machines and speaking at the launch of the Honda RC213V, the World Champion doesn't expect to have it all his own way this time around.
“We know there will be a lot of serious competition out there, Ducati have been putting a lot of effort in as have Yamaha so it will be interesting to get out on track and see what everyone’s got. However, it’s early days and I think we’ll have to wait until the race in Qatar before we really know our competitors true pace and the package they have for 2012, but we’re ready for it.”
2012 also promises to be a special year off the track for Stoner with wife Adriana expected to give birth to their first child in the coming weeks.
“The off season has been really good, we got to go back home and spend some time with family and friends in Australia over Christmas which was great”, he said. “Then we came back to Switzerland to get everything in order for the baby’s arrival, Adriana’s due in just a few weeks and so we’ve been preparing, as best possible! After such a strong season in 2011, we remain focused and don’t expect to be in top form immediately. I am sure Honda have done a fantastic job with the new 1000cc machine over the winter break and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike and seeing what we can do, hoping to start strong again.”