Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess says he is anticipating a backlash from Aussie Casey Stoner in 2010.
Stoner, who won the first ever 800cc title in 2007, had a torrid last season and a major fatigue issue that struck at the halfway stage of the campaign wrecked his title challenge.
Stoner opted to miss three races to recover but bounced back in stunning fashion with two wins in the last four races.
He was also an odd-on favourite to claim three victories on the bounce when he crashed out on the warm-up lap of the final race in Valencia in early November.
Stoner was in impressive form when he made his debut on Ducati’s factory GP10 in Valencia and Burgess told MCN he expects a strong battle against the 24-year-old next season.
“Casey came back and showed some pretty impressive form. If he turns up next year with good body strength and an understanding of what his body is capable of then he’ll run anybody close, if not beat them.
"So we’ve got to look out for him and Jorge (Lorenzo) will obviously be there as well,“ said Burgess, who has masterminded all of Rossi’s seven MotoGP world titles.