He continued: “We come from a very bad GP in Aragón, the result was of course not what we would have expected, but even last year at Aragón I was in trouble. Last year here at Motegi was a good race and a good result, I was on the podium and not so far from the victory, so I hope to take the same step with Ducati and to improve.”
Following the Aragón round Rossi tested the latest version of the developing 2012 Desmosedici, and commented: “We tested at Jerez after the Aragón race, and we have some data with which to work for the 2012 Ducati bike, so we'll try to understand as much as possible during this season.”
Round 15 provides Aoyama with his much anticipated home race and the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider is determined to deliver something special for the crowd at a track where he was twice a 250cc race winner.
“I want to say thanks to those who came here to race because it was, I think, a hard decision and it means a lot for Japanese motorcycle fans,” he started. “Personally this is my home race and for sure it's very important.
"Last year I was injured and couldn't perform as I would have liked, and this year after Assen I was also injured and suffered a lot on the bike, but now I'm much better and feel good on the bike and I hope this time I can perform much better than last year. My best result so far this year is fourth place at Jerez and I want to better that here.”
Discussing the area he will target for improvement in the lead up to Sunday's race, Aoyama added: “I always struggle at the beginning of the race because I can't push the tyre enough, but from mid to end of the race I have a good rhythm, so the target is to improve in the first part of the race.”
Bautista has also tasted victory in the former 250cc class at Motegi and the Rizla Suzuki rider is keen to convert his recent good form into another solid result on the GSV-R after a recent run of impressive displays.
“We have had good results and have been consistent in the last few races, and our target here is to continue in the same way and be closer to the second group like Dovizioso, Spies and Simoncelli. We are working very well and we'll try to get off to a good start on Friday and have a good set-up ready for the race,” he said.
Bautista continued: “Last year I had a good race here and finished seventh, this year I think we're more competitive and have more confidence in the bike. It's a good track for Suzuki and I hope to get a good result here.”
Itoh was the final man to speak and the HRC test rider, who will be on board an RC212V as a wild card under the Honda Racing Team banner this weekend, outlined the significance of being able to ride in the Grand Prix of Japan.