Casey Stoner heads to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix having returned to winning ways for the first time since July's German GP - with victory in front of his home fans last time out at Phillip Island - but the outgoing world champion admits his mind is already focussed on next year's Ducati Desmosedici GP9.
Stoner enjoyed a highly promising debut on an early version of the GP9, which features a carbon fibre chassis, during post-race testing at Catalunya in early June.
The Australian set the fastest time of the day - beating his race and qualifying best with this year's GP8 in the process - and has now delayed vital wrist surgery in order to ride the GP9 immediately after the season-ending Valencian Grand Prix, on October 26.
"We'll give our best to finish the season in a positive way, with some good results, although to be honest my mind is on the test at the end of the season at Valencia, when we can start to work on the new Desmosedici," said Stoner.
Stoner will start the final two rounds of the season second in the championship and 36 points clear of Honda's Dani Pedrosa, meaning that the runner-up position will be his if he can leave Malaysia 25 points ahead of the Spaniard.
Having won in all three classes at Sepang, and with a strong wet weather setting to add to his impressive dry pace, Stoner doesn't expect any unpleasant surprises this weekend at a track 'friendly' to Ducati.
"Over the last few rounds we've managed to set a good pace in all of the dry practice sessions and struggled a little bit in the wet. We think we found a good wet setting in Australia so unless there's an unexpected problem that crops up we should be okay for any conditions at Sepang," said Casey.
"I like the track and I've got good memories because I've won there in every category - 125cc, 250cc [2004 and 2005] and MotoGP. The track is a good mix, there are some fast corners with a lot of lean angle and some tight ones that aren't much fun," he added.
"Sepang is a 'friendly' circuit for us," stated Ducati MotoGP project director Livio Suppo. "We went well there in winter testing and both Casey and Marco have good records at this circuit. Hopefully we can maintain that tradition!"
Melandri finished second to Stoner at Sepang in 2007.
"The last few races have been really difficult and I'm obviously disappointed because I wanted to end the season with a run of decent results," said the 2009 Kawasaki rider. "Anyway, the only way thing to do is to consider each race as an individual event and start from zero. So I'll try to do that in Malaysia, where I had a good race last year and finished on the podium."