Casey Stoner believes the key to a 2009 MotoGP title attack will be to approach the new season with less confidence than last year - but show more aggression once the racing gets underway.
Speaking at Ducati's 'Wrooom' press ski meeting at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy on Wednesday, the 2007 MotoGP world champion - second to Valentino Rossi last season - highlighted his desire to start the new season with a well understood machine, something he feels didn't happen in 2008.
"Last year we were perhaps a little too confident and overlooked some of the work we needed to do, leading to a few highs and lows at the start of the season that end up costing us dear," Stoner stated.
"In any case, despite a breakdown and two crashes we still won six races and finished second in the championship, which means we can look forward to next year really positively...
"...I also plan to be a little more aggressive this season and maybe be a bit more decisive in races where nobody seems to want to take the initiative," he revealed.
Despite only limited testing with this year's Desmosedici GP9, the Australian believes that his new machine requires no fundamental changes.
"So far I've only ridden the GP9 twice, at Barcelona during the season and for a day at Valencia in November," confirmed Stoner, who missed November's Jerez test due to a bone graft operation on his left wrist. "It wasn't much but it was enough to understand that we're not a long way off and that the new [carbon fibre] chassis is an improvement. We need to work on improving the set-up and refining a couple of areas on the bike."
Stoner also believes that input from new team-mate and 2006 MotoGP world champion, Nicky Hayden, will help develop the GP9 in the right direction.
"I'm really happy with the addition of Nicky to the team. He has always been kind to me, even when I was racing in the smaller classes, and I think we can work well together," said Stoner. "The communication between us is great and I think we can work together on fixing certain situations and getting the most out of the GP9 so that we can both be competitive."
In terms of his fitness following the wrist surgery - conducted to correct a broken scaphoid bone originally damaged in 2003, but which had never healed properly - Stoner declared himself "reasonably happy".
"I would like to have a little more movement but the check-up went well yesterday, the bone graft has healed well and that is very positive," he explained. "It means I can start to work my hand and arm a little harder now and start to recover some muscle mass and get in the best possible shape for the next test."
Stoner will make his MotoGP comeback during the first test of 2009, to be held at Sepang in Malaysia from February 5-7.