Nicky Hayden has warned that switching to 1000cc engines in 2012 will not improve MotoGP's spectacle unless rider aids are reduced at the same time.
MotoGP has received plenty of criticism for the declining level of action in its races in recent years, with many arguing that the switch from 990cc to 800cc engines in 2007 is the root cause. The series will move to 1000cc power units in 2012, but Hayden does not think increasing the engine size alone will cure MotoGP's problems.
"If they don't limit the electronics, it's not going to be any different," said Hayden. "It's just that simple. It will be no different. I don't want to get the fans' hopes up too much.
"Electronics are going to be no different. There will be a little bit more torque, but as far as corner entry, and the tires being as good as they are, I don't think it will be much more [spectacular]."
He admitted that he had no idea how to tackle the rising influence of rider aid devices. "I don't know if there's a way to do it, because that's going to be a big job," said the 2006 MotoGP champion.
Hayden does believe that the 1000cc engines might at least be more suited to his riding style, however.
"I think if they had a bit more torque, it won't be so much like a 250cc [style], you could definitely pick it up," he said. "I don't think it will be back to as much as before [the 800cc rules], but a little bit more."
He added that Ducati was already pouring resources into its 1000cc bike for 2012, and that there would be few changes from the 2010 to the 2011 design as a consequence.
"I'd love to hear they're doing both – and they are doing both," said Hayden. "But to build a completely new bike for 2012, I've been to the factory and they've got a lot of guys already working on it, they're starting from zero. I think next year's bike will be a little bit different [to 2011], but not a lot different."
Hayden insisted that despite focusing on 2012, Ducati would make sure it provided Valentino Rossi with a competitive bike when he joined next season.
"I'm sure they're not going to want to lose with the guy," he said. "I'm sure there will be enough development for next year. A lot depends on what he wants when he gets to ride the bike. First they need some feedback to see what he likes, what he doesn't like, what he's looking for."