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Stoner vows to keep fighting in title push

Stoner vows to keep fighting in title push

MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner is not thinking of throwing in the towel as he aims to end Valentino Rossi´s winning streak this weekend.

Casey Stoner left Misano last year with an 85-point lead in the MotoGP World Championship, having taken another outstanding victory whilst rival Valentino Rossi fell by the wayside. Returning to the San Marino round this year, things have made a sharp 180 degree turn; Rossi now holds the advantage with just six races to go, 50 points clear of the Ducati Marlboro man. Stoner has been riding well in recent races, and is not going to lie down with the title still hanging in the balance.

`We´ll see what happens (at Misano) but we´re in good shape - the gap in the championship is big but we´ll keep fighting until it´s over,´ states a determined Stoner, the winner of the 2007 Misano race from pole position.

`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.´

Stoner is on a six-race streak of pole position starts, although his most recent Grand Prix outing ended in disaster when he crashed out whilst leading in Brno. With the Australian having dominated the practice sessions on race weekends for the past three months, even Rossi has acknowledged that 50 points is not a big enough gap to afford early celebrations.

On the other side of the Ducati factory team garage, Marco Melandri is preparing for his final six races on the Desmosedici GP8. Whether he is confirmed as a Kawasaki rider for 2009 over the course of the weekend remains to be seen, with the deal pending the official `Team Green´ stamp of approval from HQ in Japan, but the Italian is determined to end his year on a positive note, especially at his home race.

`I was born a few kilometres from Misano and I really feel at home at this circuit. It is still quite a new circuit for us and this year they´ve altered turn one again,´ says Melandri, who suffered a nasty crash at last year´s race in an extended practice session.

`There are a lot of slow corners and it´s not easy to overtake so qualifying well and getting a good start are even more important than usual. In the Brno test we found a few set-up modifications that I liked and we hope they also work at this track. Obviously it would give me great satisfaction to have a good race here - more than anything for the team.´

MotoGP, 2008, GP CINZANO DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, Casey Stoner, Marco Melandri, Ducati Marlboro Team

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