Casey Stoner has vowed not to give up on his hopes of a second consecutive MotoGP title as bids to reduce the 50-point deficit to Valentino Rossi in the final six races of the season, beginning with this weekend's round at Misano.
Although widely-regarded as the home of Rossi, Misano also represents the local circuit for Stoner's Ducati team, ensuring there will be some 'red' support for the Australian amidst a sea of blue and yellow.
Returning to the scene of where he all but guaranteed himself the 2007 title, the roles are very much reversed for the Australian this season as he bids to keep Rossi honest following his fall at Brno.
Despite his Czech disaster though, Stoner is confident he has the bike beneath him to challenge for victory from the beginning of the weekend.
"We had a great result at Misano last year and that, added to the fact that we're in good shape with the set-up and the tyres, means we can be reasonably confident of another good result here. After the last few races and in the recent test at Brno we've managed to improve the set-up even more so we're confident of putting on a good show for the home fans at Misano.
“It is quite a tight and twisty track and the surface is quite bumpy but there are some really fun sections. We'll see what happens but we're in good shape - the gap in the championship is big but we'll keep fighting until it's over."
MotoGP project director, Livio Suppo, has also placed his faith in Stoner, despite a couple of disappointing races, and is sure he will be the rider to beat this weekend.
"Over the past five rounds Casey has shown incredible speed from the opening practice session at a variety of circuits and even though he hasn't got the points to show for it, he's in outstanding form and we're sure he'll also be on the pace at Misano.”