By Rod Hanrick
Casey Stoner may be the most successful rider in 800cc MotoGP history, but the Australian - who secured his second MotoGP title in front of his home fans at Phillip Island on Sunday - can't wait to see the back of them.
Despite his collection of 32 victories on two different 800cc brands, 11 more than nearest rival Valentino Rossi, Stoner revealed no sentimental attachment with the formula that has brought him both his world championships.
Asked if he will be upset to see the present bikes being replaced by 1000cc's in 2012, the 26 year old replied:
"Definitely not! I was confused as to why we went to 800s, after the 1000s [990s]. The word came out it was because of safety seasons. The 1000s being too fast. I think everyone knows the statistics now, the 800s arrived in walls more times than 1000s did.
"I've always preferred 1000s when I got on them. With more power I feel a lot more comfortable. I'm just really looking forward to the 1000s. Through turn three here [Phillip Island] it'll be easier to slide and I think at a lot of circuits it's going to be a lot more fun."
Riders who have tested 1000cc bikes for next year have all reported how much more enjoyable the larger capacity bike is to ride, due to the increase in power and torque over the 800, raising the prospect of more exciting racing and power-sliding in next year's competition.
For Stoner, 2012 will see his return to a larger capacity Honda after debuting on a 990cc LCR-run bike in 2006. The Australian believes that his second year at Repsol Honda will bring obvious set-up benefits that the two time champion missed this year.
"It'll actually be nice next year, me and my whole crew understanding the Honda a little better. When we struggle I think we might find the set-up a bit easier," said Stoner, who brought his crew chief and some mechanics with him from Ducati.
Stoner's title victory was Honda's first of the 800cc era, bringing to an end a four-year drought since Nicky Hayden lifted the final 990cc crown in 2006.
"It does feel special for the fact that they [Honda] have struggled over these past years and we were able to arrive and take the championship in the first year with them," said Stoner.