MotoGP Championship leader Casey Stoner, who holds a 44-point lead at the top of the standings, was joined by Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi in the pre-event press conference at Misano on Thursday.
The Repsol Honda rider will be going for a fourth consecutive win this weekend, having taken victory at Laguna Seca, Brno and most recently Indianapolis and despite his advantage at the top of the standings is taking nothing for granted.
“So far things are going well but we've had a fair lead taken down a bit in the Championship before, and we had to grow it back again,” said Stoner. “There are still quite a few races to go and we need to make sure we stay as competitive as we can.”
He continued: “I hope to be able to fight for the win here and if not minimise the damage to the points. I think it'll be another hot weekend here, and we'll have to see how the track conditions and the tyres are.”
Stoner's team-mate Pedrosa made it a Repsol Honda one-two at Indianapolis and the Spaniard, who won here last year, is targeting a better lead into the race having started from the second row last weekend.
“I hope here we can have a better qualifying,” said Pedrosa. “Of course if it's warm again it'll be harder, also with the jetlag, but it's the same for everybody and hopefully we are fit enough to perform at our best.”
Pedrosa is also aiming for a strong final run in the campaign as it enters its final third: “In the Championship I'm really far down but I hope I can have some good races before the end of the season. I hope I can get some wins and podiums and have a good end.”
This weekend will see plenty of focus fall on Rossi with the Misano circuit so close to the Italian's hometown. It will also have the added significance of the nine-time World Champion racing for the first time here on the Ducati.
“For me, Ducati and the fans this is important,” he said. “A lot of people will try to fight with us, but unfortunately this year we've been unable to give the right results. We have to try, not just for us but all the people here. It's a difficult season and we come from a bad race last week, but we'll have great support from the fans.”