Leading MotoGP riders do not think the change to 1000cc engines for 2012 will radically shake up the pecking order in the championship, but do expect the new formula to be a lot more fun to ride.
The five-year 800cc era ended with Sunday's Valencia Grand Prix, and the first full field test of the 1000cc bikes will take place at the Spanish track on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
MotoGP champion Casey Stoner is looking forward to the change, but expects the same names to remain at the front as he does not anticipate needing a dramatically different riding style.
"I don't think it's going to change how people ride," said Stoner. "Whoever can ride the 800cc, they've still got enough power and grunt to spin the tire almost at will. These bikes still have plenty of grunt. It's not going to change a whole heap with the 1000cc, I don't think. I just think they're going to give us a heck of a lot more torque and a bit more fun in the high gears, but you've still got to put that power to the ground, same as the 800cc.
"I think you'll be able to ride them in two different ways – you'll be able to point and shoot, stop them a little bit more in the corners, but at the same time I think you'll still be able to run corner speed, so that's the way bikes and tires are evolving, and even going to 1000cc isn't going to change a huge amount, I don't think, it's just going to be a lot more fun."
Yamaha's Ben Spies agreed that the 1000cc bikes would provide more entertainment, and reckoned they might at least allow larger-built riders to be more competitive.
"The 1000ccs aren't going to be like a Superbike by any means, but some of the disadvantages that I have just by being a little bit bigger, I won't say it's going to be an advantage having a 1000cc, but we won't have as many disadvantages," he said. "I don't think anyone is going to be able to complain about power when you have 1000cc. It's going to be about who can hang on to them for 120km. It's going to be fun and a big workout, that's for sure."
Stoner added that despite being the most successful rider of the 800cc seasons, he was happy to see the smaller-capacity bikes consigned to history.
"To be honest, I'm really happy to going back to 1000cc and equally happy to be finishing up with 800cc," he said. "A lot of people have criticized the 800cc era quite a lot – including myself, because it's a strange cc to go with, and the reasons that they did change to 800cc didn't seem to be working in that direction."