Despite losing ground to Casey Stoner in Australia, Dani Pedrosa is confident he can still snatch third position in this year's MotoGP world championship as he prepares for the penultimate round of the season in Malaysia.
The Spaniard finished third at Phillip Island, but Stoner's race victory has moved him six points clear with Sepang and Valencia remaining on the calendar.
Nonetheless, Pedrosa is a fan of the challenging Kuala Lumpar circuit having previously won races at 125 and 250 level. Although he hasn't quite been able to repeat that feat in MotoGP, Pedrosa is still targeting victory this weekend.
“Sepang is a good circuit and I always look forward to this race. I've won here previously with Honda in the 125 and 250 classes, and I'd really like to add a MotoGP win to those victories. It could be tough because we know how fast our rivals have been recently, but still, the win is what we'll be aiming for as always - and also to challenge Casey for third in the championship.
“The track has a fast and challenging layout - plus the hot, humid conditions we encounter here always mean this is a physically demanding race for the riders, although we're well prepared for it. It will certainly be a big contrast to the cold weather conditions we rode in at Phillip Island last weekend.
“At the moment we are looking to improve the stability of our machine and it's important that from the first moments of practice we use all the preparation time available to us to ! arrive at the best possible package for this race.”
For Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, Sepang will forever be remembered as the place where he scored his maiden MotoGP podium, the Italian finishing third for Scot Honda team last season.
“I really look forward to racing in Malaysia as this is my favourite track and I have good memories there,” he said. “Last year I had a strong race at Sepang and scored my first podium in MotoGP on the RC212V for the Scot Honda team.
“I'm also confident about this weekend because, during the last part of the race in Australia, my feeling with the bike improved a lot, and if we make a good start in practice on Friday I think we can go on to be competitive in the race. As we saw in Australia, it's so important to secure a good position on the grid if you want to fight for the leading positions.
“Sepang is an excellent circuit and because of this I enjoy the Malaysian Grand Prix very much. It's a complete track, with a good combination of fast and slow sections, and also the circuit is wide, which lets you try different lines. With a MotoGP bike, it is really fun and it'll be great to get back out there on Friday.”