Stoner Expects Surprises in 2011
However, he stopped short from predicting a two- or three-way battle for the title against his fellow Honda teammates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, saying that there will be a lot of riders who will have a saying in the outcome of the championship at one point or another.
“I expect some surprises, although I did the same last year and there were the same four riders winning races and getting on the podiums,” said the former MotoGP champion, who is part of the “big four” that has dominated the MotoGP world through the last 3 seasons, alongside Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
“I am certain Dani and Jorge will be in front, but Andrea is quickly improving and also Simoncelli and Ben Spies can increase the list. I am sure that there might be some unexpected rider that will make an effort to be in front.”
And no, he didn't forget about his long-time rival Valentino Rossi when referring to the 2011 title fight, arguing that the Italian may pose a threat in the championship but only in its late stages.
“Valentino might be ready for the first race, but we might have to wait a little,” he added.
Stoner will head to Qatar trying to avenge his mistake last year, when he was in the running for a 4th consecutive win at the Losail International Circuit before crashing out of the race with 5 laps to go.