Like Yamaha Tech 3's James Toseland, San Carlo Honda Gresini has set seventh in the 2009 MotoGP World Championship as the 'maximum objective' for its riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis.
That position is presently held by Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi - but the Italian starts the final three rounds of the season only four points ahead of Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), six points ahead of Marco Melandri (Hayate), seven points ahead of Elias and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), nine points ahead of de Angelis and twelve points ahead of Toseland.
14th in the championship Nicky Hayden (Ducati) is also in with a shot at seventh, sitting 16 points from Capirossi, with 75 still to be decided.
“Both our riders are fighting for seventh place in the championship and that is the maximum objective we have set ourselves for this final phase of the season,” said Gresini. “Hopefully we can continue to work in the right way and achieve that over the last three races.”
Elias moved up to tenth with a charging sixth place - from 13th on the grid - at Estoril, but is worried that rear traction problems could be magnified this weekend.
“Phillip Island is a wonderful track and I love it there, it's a great track to ride when you've got traction,” said Toni. “Unfortunately that has been our main problem at a lot of the circuits we've been to this season and I'm concerned we'll be struggling this weekend because if you don't have grip you can't do the lap times. I'm expecting a difficult weekend but we'll give it our best shot and see what happens when we get there.”
de Angelis was forced to retire from the Portuguese race due to a technical problem with his RC212V and - after scoring points in every race up to Misano - he has now failed to score points at two in a row, a record he is desperate to put straight this weekend.
“Alongside Sachsenring, Philip Island is my favourite track on the calendar, without a doubt,” said the Sammarinese. “It is fast and flowing, which suits my riding style, and it gives me an opportunity to really get the full potential out of my bike in the fast corners.
“After scoring zero points in the last two rounds we go there with the will and determination to do a good job and our potential is high so I'm confident. I'm thinking positive also because I've come really close to victory on many occasions here in both the 125 and 250 classes and I feel that after the good form we showed in the middle of the season we are overdue another good result.”