Whatever happens at this weekend's Italian MotoGP, Marc Marquez will be leading the world championship on Sunday evening.

That's because, having fought back from the early-season mayhem in Argentina, the Repsol Honda rider is now 36-points clear at the head of the standings with wins at the past three races.

Unfortunately for his rivals, Marquez was also set a peerless pace during a recent private test at Mugello. All of which means the reigning champion is the rider to beat heading into this weekend's Mugello event.

“It’s good to go to Mugello with an advantage in the Championship, but we’re still in the early phase of the season and everything is very tight, so we must keep our feet well on the ground," he said.

"We had a test at Mugello before the French GP and were able to be fast and very consistent. That’s good of course, but you always have to wait and see what situation you’re in when you start working for the race.

"There are always question marks regarding tyres, setup, temperatures, and so on. For instance, conditions will probably be warmer this weekend compared to when we tested, so we’ll just keep concentrating to try and manage well the usual ups and downs of preparing for a race.”

Marquez is a previous Mugello winner in MotoGP (2014), Moto2 (2011) and 125cc (2010, his first ever grand prix win).

Marquez and Pedrosa analyse Mugello

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa approaches Mugello in a very different position.

The Spaniard is only tenth in the world championship after accidents and injuries, riding to fifth last time at Le Mans despite fluid on his hip from the Jerez highside.

“After a full week of rest following the Catalunya test, I’m really looking forward to going to race at Mugello," Pedrosa said. "It’s a nice track that I like. It’s very fast, with many chicanes, and you must work hard to find a good setup because it’s particularly important to have a good feeling with the bike in all the corner entries.

"We had a test at Mugello at the beginning of May, so we’ll see if we’re able to start well beginning in FP1. I have a great relationship with Italy and Italian fans!”

Pedrosa - yet to sign for 2019 - is a double 250cc winner at Mugello, with one premier-class win in 2010.