Misano poised for action following press conference
Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Loris Capirossi were present at the official pre-event press conference for the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at Misano.
Casey Stoner arrives at this weekend’s Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at Misano guarding a healthy 44-point lead in the Championship, with six rounds remaining in the 2011 campaign.
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, who was joined by Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi in the pre-event press conference. “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.”
Spies comes into Round 13 full of confidence after his podium finish in his home race where, despite a mistake on the opening lap which cost him many positions, he managed to finish third having run a good race pace.
“This is a track I like and it’s a special atmosphere,” said the Yamaha Factory Racing rider. “It was a good race for us in Indy, I made a mistake at the start but we had good speed and it’s a confidence booster. I just need to take that to this weekend and have fun again. Hopefully we have the same feeling with the bike as we did at Indy and we can challenge at the front throughout the weekend.”
Last to speak was Capirossi who announced that after a long and illustrious career in the World Championship, which has delivered three titles, 29 Grand Prix wins and 99 podiums, he will retire at the end of the current campaign.
“It’s difficult for me to say this because after 22 seasons this will be my last race in Italy as I have decided to stop,” said an emotional Capirossi, who received a standing ovation from the media present. “I have thought a lot about stopping and I think this is the right decision for me.”