Marco Simoncelli believes he has made a breakthrough in race-pace consistency and expects to mount a strong challenge for a podium in Australia this weekend.
After a spectacular start that saw him qualify on the front row for six straight races, Simoncelli's form has tailed off in recent rounds and his third place at Brno remains his sole MotoGP podium to date. But he believes the pace he showed at Motegi – where he finished fourth despite a jump-start penalty – proves that he is back to more competitive form.
"Now I am feeling motivated and ready to fight again at Phillip Island," said Simoncelli. "At Motegi I was able to see once again, that I can fight with the guys at the front and at a circuit where I won 250cc races in 2008 and 2009, I want to show it again.
"I was lacking some race consistency but we have addressed that and if it wasn't for the jump start at Motegi I would have been fighting for the podium, so that is something I want to make up for at Phillip Island."
Before Motegi, Simoncelli secured a deal to continue on a works specification Honda with Gresini next year. He tested Honda's 2012 1000cc bike last week, and was extremely upbeat about the machine.
"It was an amazing experience – 50 laps of pure adrenaline," he said. "The bike is so much fun and it keeps pulling in fifth and sixth gear. I gave some feedback to the HRC engineers that will hopefully be taken into consideration before the next test at Valencia."