Casey Stoner has reiterated Valentino Rossi's mantra that 'racing is another story' as he gets ready for the start of the 2009 MotoGP season following an almost perfect build up in testing.
Stoner was forced to concede his crown to Rossi in 2008 following a season beset by inconsistency and costly accidents, but the 2007 champion has reassumed his status as a firm title contender with a dominant display during testing, particularly around the Losail circuit that signals the start of the new season.
Almost a second quicker than Jorge Lorenzo at the test last month, Stoner has also won the Qatar Grand Prix for the last two seasons.
However, while the Ducati rider says he is positive about the new GP9, he doesn't want to make the same mistake as last year and go into the season with 'too much confidence'.
“I really can't wait for the new season to start,” he said. “I'm really pleased with the progress we've made together with the Ducati engineers behind the scenes and with the tests we've done out on the track.
“Everybody has worked really hard, the bike has improved in a variety of areas and it's much easier to ride. The power delivery from the engine is better, the carbon frame has improved stability and I'm happy with the carbon swingarm too, even though we have only tried it in the last two tests and it still needs a little more work before we full understand it.
“So testing has been positive but we know that racing is another story and we simply cannot afford to drop our guard at any point – we have to keep working hard to make sure we don't make the same mistakes as last season, which we went into with too much confidence.
“Qatar is not a particularly exciting track, it is very flat, but it's not too bad. We're just hoping the temperature is higher than it was for the test.”