Depending on his rivals results
A possible title triumph for Casey Stoner could come as soon as next weekend, with the Australian in with a mathematical chance of his maiden World Championship at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal.
Stoner currently holds an 85
point advantage over nearest rival Valentino Rossi, with only 125 left for which to race. Such a large advantage has never been overturned in the history of the premier class, although the closest occasion was when Stoner's fellow Australian Mick Doohan relinquished a 65 point lead in 1992, after missing several races with injury.
There are three possibilities that would bring the MotoGP World Championship back to Australia at the end of next Sunday's race, although Stoner would still be dependant on the results of rivals Rossi and Dani Pedrosa to confirm his first title.
If Stoner wins his ninth race of the season –his fourth in succession- then he will need Rossi to finish no higher than sixth to mathematically confirm the title. If Rossi were to finish second, the gap would still be extended to a phenomenal 90 points.
Should the Ducati factory rider come home second, he would need some serious underperforming from Rossi to take the crown.
If his Italian rival finishes outside the top ten, and Dani Pedrosa does not win the race, then Stoner will leave Estoril with the championship trophy, metaphorically speaking, under his arm.
Stoner has yet to finish lower than fifth this season, and another podium also raises the possibility of his being confirmed as World Champion. A third place finish –ahead of Pedrosa- would leave him depending on Rossi finishing no higher than fifteenth.
DORNA / CAPSIS International