Casey Stoner says he hopes Ducati can revive their fortunes and take the fight to Honda and Yamaha in 2012, claiming that MotoGP will benefit from having a greater number of front-running teams.
Stoner, who won the 2011 MotoGP World Championship for Honda following his switch from Ducati over the off-season, believes the Italian manufacturer is capable of turning around its lacklustre form with the new 1000cc GP12 in 2012 and become a regular threat to Honda and Yamaha, which shared the victory spoils last season.
Indeed, with Suzuki and Kawasaki pulling their manufacturer support, and the introduction of the cost-cutting CRT machines, Stoner feels a fast Ducati is necessary for the championship to live up to its billing as the world's premier motorcycling series.
"They [Ducati] are saying that they completely revamped 90 per cent of the bike, but they did that in the middle of last year,” he told the official MotoGP website. “They changed the bike back to front and top to bottom and nothing much changed. I'm hoping, for Ducati's sake, that they can put together a competitive bike this year because the Championship needs it.
“Regardless of what the riders want, everyone needs as many manufacturers at the front as possible. Yamaha and Honda want competition; unfortunately Kawasaki and Suzuki are gone from the Championship, so we need all bikes at the front."
Touching on the arrival of CRT, Stoner admits he hasn't been impressed with what he has seen of the production engined bikes, adding that some of the entries are likely to do nothing than 'make up the numbers'.
"We will wait and see. Looking at lap times - it's not impressive. I'm sure there are some teams that will get it together and will have the right riders and should be quite competitive, but there are some out there that I don't think will be competitive at all.
“I think they are just out there to make up numbers, which to be honest I'm happy about, but when they aren't on competitive bikes and riders haven't really proven themselves, it's difficult to say how competitive everyone will be, but time will tell."