Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa say they will race at MotoGP's Valencia finale in honor of Marco Simoncelli, who died in a crash on lap two of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Stoner, who clinched the 2011 championship at his home race of Australia, said the prospect of returning to racing was difficult to handle but that he and the team were determined to put on a good show in memory of Simoncelli.
"It will be difficult to return to racing this weekend after Marco's terrible accident in Sepang," Stoner said, "but I think it is the best thing we can do to honor him.
"We know we all play a risky game and, even if the safety of our sport is much better compared to the past, unfortunately, these kinds of events still occur. My thoughts go to his family and I hope they are coping through this period.
"This race is the final round of an incredible season for us, and we will go out there this weekend and try to put on a good show for all the fans – and especially in memory of Marco."
Stoner's works Honda teammates Dovizioso and Pedrosa are separated by just four points in the battle for third in the championship, with Dovizioso also preparing for his final race weekend with Honda before switching to the Yamaha Tech 3 squad for 2012. The Italian said he hoped to crown his final race with the manufacturer in style, but that his thoughts were predominantly on Simoncelli rather than his race prospects.
"I'm going to Valencia not in the right frame of mind for a race," Dovizioso said. "I'm very sad for the loss of Marco. I will wear his No. 58 on the chest of my leathers, this is the only thing that counts.
"I have raced with Marco throughout my career, he was 'the rival' and now that he is no longer with us he has left a big void. I want to convert this feeling of emptiness into determination to crown 10 years together with Honda with a good final race."
Pedrosa, twice a winner at Valencia in MotoGP, said Simoncelli would be in his thoughts during the weekend. "Valencia will be a very special race for everybody," he explained.
"This weekend we will all have Marco in our thoughts and I hope the fans show their appreciation, as the whole MotoGP family will do."