Winner of the inaugural Indianapolis MotoGP in 2008, Valentino Rossi hasn't been on the podium since, but hopes that the recent resurfacing will make the track more favourable for his GP11.1.
The Italian is making gradual progress with the modified motorcycle - finishing sixth and 12 seconds from victory at Brno - a trend he hopes to continue this weekend.
“Indy is a difficult circuit, and although it's not exactly one of my favourites, we'll see how we perform there with the Ducati," said Rossi. "They resurfaced part of the track, so the conditions should certainly be better from that point of view.
"We made a little progress with the GP11.1's setup during the Brno GP, and we'll see if we can confirm them at this next race. Anyway, racing in America is always nice for me, as I enjoy both the atmosphere and the fans, who are always very passionate."
The seven-time MotoGP champion also paid tribute to Claudio Castiglioni, who played a leading role in such Italian brands as Cagiva, MV Agusta and Ducati - and also helped Rossi early in his racing career.
Castiglioni's death, at the age of 64, was announced on August 17.
"On the other hand, I'm very sorry that we'll be missing someone who undoubtedly followed our sport, though not at the track: Claudio Castiglioni was very passionate and he did a lot for the motorcycle world, and for me in particular when he helped me get started in racing in Sport Production 125 when I was 14," said Rossi.
Rossi starts this weekend's event fourth in the world championship, eight points ahead of 2010 Indy winner Dani Pedrosa (Honda).