Valentino Rossi reckons a podium finish could be his limit in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix, as he expects his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Honda's Dani Pedrosa to be very hard to beat.
The reigning champion's points lead was cut to 25 a week ago when he crashed out at Indianapolis, a race Lorenzo went on to win, and he thinks Misano will also suit his main rivals better.
"I think it will be very, very, very difficult to try to stay in front of Jorge, and it's already a good target to try to stay in front of Dani because his acceleration, the Honda and his riding style will be good," Rossi said. "So we'll start by looking at the podium because we have to take some important points, and then we'll look towards the other races."
Although Misano is the closest track to Rossi's home town of Tavullia, the crowd favourite does not have the same affinity with the venue as he does with MotoGP's other Italian circuit Mugello. Rossi won at Misano last year, but admitted the victory did not rank among his finest.
"Mugello is the Italian Grand Prix and I love the track and it's a track that is good for my style," he said. "Here I'm closer to Tavullia, to my house, but the track is not fantastic.
"I think it will be a difficult weekend, like last year. In the end I was able to win, but Casey [Stoner] crashed when he was in front of me and Lorenzo with the Michelins that were slower than the Bridgestones finished very close to me, so I think it will be very difficult this weekend."
While he is less than confident about his chances this weekend, Rossi added that he now felt more comfortable about his fall in the Indianapolis Grand Prix, having been able to analyze the accident – which had initially left him puzzled.
"Usually I understand better why I crash," he said. "Indianapolis was very strange, but it was a mistake in the first corner. I went to brake off the line, and there was more dirt and in particular the bump was bigger. I fell on the brakes, and I lost the front."