Following is the pre-race press conference for Sepang MotoGP with Casey Stoner and his teammate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team), Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki).
The newly-crowned MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner began the Sepang pre-race conference by talking about how the stress levels have subsided. Stoner grabbed the 2011 MotoGP Championship, his second after the 2007 title (Ducati) after completely dominating at his home-race in Phillip Island, Australia, last weekend.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "I’ll be a little more relaxed, hopefully. I’ll see what happens tomorrow when I’m in the box, how I work and if everything just goes that much more smoothly because there’s a big weight of pressure off.
"We knew in those last few races if we made any mistakes Jorge was going to take a lot of points off us and the Championship was wide open. So to clinch the Championship with a couple of rounds to go is always nice and we can go on and just enjoy these races."
Stoner has won at Sepang in every category he has ridden in here, and hopes that the weather at the hot and humid Malaysian track favors a good MotoGP weekend.
Casey Stoner says: "Hopefully the weather stays off a bit. It’s nice to come back to a circuit we’ve been this successful at and hopefully we can have a good weekend."
Dovizioso maintained third position in the MtoOGP standings with his podium result at Phillip Island, and will continue to try and hold off teammate Dani Pedrosa this weekend as the pair go head to head once again.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "The fight is at home, in the same team, and everybody knows it is really important for me to finish in front of him.
"To finish third in the Championship for me is the best result and really important before leaving (the team). I’m really determined to finish third and also have the possibility of a dream to finish second, which will be very difficult".
"This is a wonderful track, especially with MotoGP, it’s so nice to ride here and I enjoy fighting in the race. It’s good for me and I hope I have the possibility to fight for victory this weekend."
Speaking about his recent decision to join Hervé Poncharal’s Tech 3 set-up for 2012 MotoGP, Dovizioso concluded: "Sure it was a difficult decision because the Honda is so strong and has been for a couple of years. In my dream there is still the possibility to try and fight for the Championship, and it looks like at the moment, with a lot of strong riders, there is no possibility for me. So I will try in a different way."
Rossi comes into this weekend off the back of two difficult MotoGP races in Japan and Australia, in which he has registered back-to-back DNFs. The Italian has previously won six times in the premier class at Sepang, but knows he faces another tough task this weekend in what has been a hard 2011.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: "Here at Sepang it’s always a great pleasure to ride, I love this track and I have always had good results here.
"In the (pre-season) test I was not very fast here so we hope to be in better condition for this weekend, and we have a battle in the Championship for fifth place. Right now I’m seventh which is more or less my normal position during this season, but unfortunately I lost important points in the last two races with crashes. The battle for fifth is not over."
The finger Rossi injured in his Motegi MotoGP fall continues to cause him an issue, and he further explained: "Unfortunately in Phillip Island I had to have a lot of injections because it was very painful to ride, and the finger is still quite swollen. Hopefully over the next few days it will be less painful."
For Edwards the focus is already shifting to next season when he will ride with a new CRT team, and the American is hoping for two more good results before he moves on from the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team.
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP) says: "It’s a new adventure and it’s a lot of work, our sport has a dream and a vision. Everybody wants to see closer, competitive racing in MotoGP like it is in Moto2… Somebody has to start it."
Confirming the bike set-up he should start 2012 on after speculation on possible manufacturers, Edwards said: "It’s a BMW/Suter which is what I signed for in the beginning, and I’m happy to be working with those guys. We’ll have to go out there and work and test. It’s probably not going to be competitive in the first race, maybe not in the last race, but we’ll work extremely hard to build it."
Bautista has looked on the verge of impressive top-five results in the last two rounds before crashing in the race, and the Spaniard is confident he can convert his recent form and the GSV-R’s potential into a good result at a track he scored his equal-best MotoGP result of fifth at last season; John Hopkins will join the Rizla Suzuki on a second GSVR.
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MotoGP) says: "The Suzuki is now more competitive in every kind of condition and at every track. In Australia the Suzuki had always struggled a lot and we had an almost perfect weekend, we just had to finish the race. I was third on the grid and fighting for fifth position. Here last year I was fifth, and this year our aim is to be more competitive here.
"This race we will have two riders in the team. Now it’s a good chance to see two Suzukis on track, and maybe it can help Suzuki to produce a 1000cc bike for next year."
Earlier in the day a group of riders took part in a karting pre-event at the circuit, which Mahindra Racing’s 125cc rider Danny Webb took victory in. Moto2 pair Ricky Cardús and Andrea Iannone completed the top three in the ten-lap contest.