Jorge Lorenzo says maintaining his current MotoGP championship advantage over rival Dani Pedrosa will be a chief priority of this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix.
The Yamaha rider's gap has been slashed to just 13 points in recent weeks, with Pedrosa winning last time out at Brno and before that at Indianapolis. Lorenzo, however, has an enviable record at Misano, winning last year's race and claiming three consecutive second places prior to that.
"We arrive at Misano still leading the championship so we must work hard this weekend to keep it and if possible to increase it," Lorenzo said. "[It] is a track I like very much, we had a great victory here last year and many podium finishes."
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg echoed Lorenzo's sentiments, adding: "After a very exciting Brno race we want to try to increase the point lead.
"We have just six races to go now. Misano was very strong last year for Jorge and a great victory. I think it will be exciting again this weekend so we need to try to win but stay calm."
Ben Spies, meanwhile, said he was hoping simply for a trouble-free weekend, following another torrid race at Brno. The Texan suffered a slipping clutch and dropped back in the opening laps, staged a comeback and fought his way up to eighth but then crashed out with 14 laps to run.
"It's been an unbelievable year but we'll give it 100 percent as always this weekend and fingers crossed it'll be trouble free and we can show our true potential," Spies said. "Misano is a track I really enjoy riding, I've had some great races here. I think if we'd had a couple more laps last year then I could have maybe been past Andrea [Dovizioso] and Marco [Simoncelli in the battle for fourth place]."