Casey Stoner believes that the finishing order in Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix will be significantly different to that of the starting grid, due to the key role tire management will play in the race.
The world championship leader stormed to his seventh pole position of the 2011 season on his Honda, but with hot temperatures expected on race day and no knowledge of what grip levels will be like on the new track surface, he said that a third win in a row was by no means guaranteed.
"It's going be interesting tomorrow to see how it pans out," the Australian said. "Tires will play a big factor in it and we're just going to have to see if we make the right choice and make sure we're there at the end. It's going to be hot and it's going to be a lot different race to what we've seen in qualifying.
"Also, there's a problem with the consistency of the grip on the track. You hit one patch and the front can come around on you, and it's difficult to know where those patches are."
Stoner said that the newly resurfaced track had posed a number of problems for the Honda team over the weekend so far, and pointed to the difficulty in judging his race setup as a key indication of this. He believes that with the surface becoming gradually more rubbered-in, grip levels will change significantly in time for the race and leave little room for error in terms of fine-tuning the Honda to suit the conditions.
"It's been quite complicated knowing whether to chase settings and get the bike set-up [in practice] or to anticipate that the track's going to improve more," he added. "Today it got a little better but not too much better than this morning, but still the track conditions are improving more and more.
"We're still undecided with the settings because if conditions improve more tomorrow, then whatever we found today is going to be irrelevant."