For some riders it’s the jubilation of victory they miss most after retiring from MotoGP, but for Casey Stoner the ultimate enjoyment and satisfaction came from the purity of being let-loose for an all-out time attack in qualifying.

The double MotoGP champion took 39 premier-class pole positions (from 117 starts) during his career, with a near-perfect front row sweep of the 18 rounds during his 2011 title season at Repsol Honda.

The only event where Stoner missed the front row that year was at Estoril, where he qualified in fourth (+0.060s from team-mate Dani Pedrosa).

A perfectionist on track, the Australian explained he always felt pressure 'not to mess up' and let his team down in races, but was able to have far more fun in practice and qualifying.

"The only times I'd [miss being on track] is probably around qualifying," said Stoner, who used the re-opening of Australia's borders to visit the paddock for the last two rounds of this season.

"I quite honestly didn't ever enjoy race day that much. Sometimes it was nice and easy and everything went well. But when you're on the edge of these [MotoGP bikes], it's so easy to make those mistakes.

"And unfortunately, it was just part of my personality that I didn't want to make mistakes. It's not that I just wanted to go out there and ride, comfortably and naturally, it was like, 'I don't want to mess up'.

"Because I've got a whole team of people that are expecting something out of me. I learned to deal with that better in my later years and didn't have to worry about that as much. But I don't really get the wish or want to race again.

"I did enjoy practice and qualifying. Certainly not testing! But Practice and Qualifying was always fun when everything would come together and you got to go as hard and as fast as you possibly could for a lap or two.

"When you got everything right, I got way more of a thrill out of that than I ever did winning a race.

"Because in the races, you never went as hard as you could, you always had to manage tyres, fuel... you're always managing a situation, and you look like a fool if you try and go as hard as you can and crash.

"So there was always a an element of holding back [in races], whereas qualifying a lot of the time you got to let loose. And that was a lot of fun."

The #27 spent some of his time trackside at Portimao and Valencia assisting his former team Ducati, which is still seeking its first MotoGP champion since Stoner in 2007.