Andrea Dovizioso believes it will be hard for anybody to stop Casey Stoner from winning the inaugural 1000cc MotoGP world championship in 2012.
The Australian starts the new season in Qatar this weekend as an overwhelming favourite to retain the crown he won in dominant fashion in 2011.
The Repsol Honda rider won 10 races in the last 800cc title fight and he has carried that impressive form over to the new Honda RC213V 1000cc machine having dominated the pre-season testing schedule.
In two tests at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia and one three-day session at Jerez last month, the 26-year-old headed the timesheets in each and heads to Doha this week hotly-tipped to start the defence of his crown in winning fashion.
Since 2006, Stoner has only been defeated twice in Qatar and former Repsol Honda team-mate Dovizioso believes he will take some stopping this season.
Dovizioso witnessed first hand Stoner’s blistering speed when the pair were part of three-rider official HRC effort last season.
Now at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 with Cal Crutchlow, Dovizioso told MCN: “He won the title easy last year and he can be just as strong this year. It will be really difficult for the other riders. He is very fast but we must try.
"Already he was fast but now he has a normal bike, he likes it, and he is two seconds faster than everybody on the first lap and this is unbelievable. He is very talented."