With his 2008 title hopes all but over after falling from his Ducati at the last three races, reigning MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner is aiming to try and enjoy the final five rounds of the season - starting at this weekend's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Stoner has shown impeccable qualifying form ever since June's Catalan Grand Prix, taking seven consecutive pole positions, but dropped his Desmosedici after unexpected opposition from Valentino Rossi at Laguna Seca - and has fallen whilst trying to stay ahead of the Italian at the two rounds since.
Those mistakes have seen Stoner plummet from 20 points behind Rossi heading into the US GP, to 75 points behind as MotoGP returns to the America for its much-anticipated Indy debut.
With a maximum of 125 points still to be claimed, Stoner's title hopes have been downgraded to 'miracle' status, whilst the four time 2008 race winner is left looking for something other than speed to put him back on top of the podium.
"Obviously I'm not happy with the results of the last few races," said Stoner. "We have proved that we are consistently fast but that clearly isn't enough. I know that I have got the support of a great team and a bike I have a great feeling with. I'm going to try to enjoy riding it over the final few races, which all take place at circuits I like a lot.
"I can't wait to go back to America and race at Indianapolis, a circuit nobody knows but where I am sure our bike and tyres will work just as well as they have done at the last few races," he insisted.
Many believe Rossi's presence has pressured Stoner into making mistakes, and it is hard to believe that Rossi's proximity to Stoner at the time of his accidents - one place in front at Laguna and one place behind at both Brno and Misano - has been a coincidence.
Nevertheless, the #1 also has problems of a more physical nature, with an old scaphoid injury having been re-opened, forcing a painful end to the season.
"I also have to think about the scaphoid that we thought had healed back in 2003 but is still giving me problems. For the time being I have to deal with it but we're talking to the doctors about what to do with it in the future," said Stoner.
Ducati MotoGP project director Livio Suppo revealed more: