Casey Stoner is confident he can challenge Valentino Rossi’s domination of the Mugello race this weekend.
Stoner is level on points with Rossi and is just a single point away from the Italian’s Fiat Yamaha team-mate in a gripping title race.
And the 23-year-old is expecting a titanic struggle in Italy this weekend as he tries to become the first Ducati rider to win in Mugello.
Stoner, who finished second in Mugello last year, said: “I can’t wait to race again in Mugello – a circuit where I’ve had good results and some unforgettable moments, such as my first ever pole position in 2003 and my first pole for Ducati in 2007, even though we just missed out on the podium in that race.
"Last year I finished second and considering the progress we’ve made since then, I’m sure we can be fighting for it again this time. It will be a tough race because the level of the competition is so high, as you can see from the championship standings, and all the home riders will be more determined than ever to do well.”
Stoner has only scored one podium in the last three races but he’s yet to finish outside of the top five and has scored points in all four races of 2009.