"My M1 has been pretty good recently"
Valentino Rossi admits that Motegi is not high on his list of favourite destinations although that opinion could easily be changed by another top result on Sunday.
The Italian has bounced back from a series of early-season setbacks
to hit top form in recent weeks and with three rounds remaining he still has a realistic chance of wrestling the title from Hayden's grasp.
"Honestly it's not a track I like very much and I haven't had such a good time there in the past, but we're going to have to do our best at Motegi," says Rossi, who didn't finish last year's race after a collision with Marco Melandri.
"Three races in a row like this is very hard, especially with this one as the third! We need to make the most of the practice time there because it is not a great track for us. Last year especially it was not a good weekend; we had a lot of problems during the practices and then the race result was very bad!"
"A gap of 21 points is still a lot but it's not impossible so we can still try.
Motegi is going to be a very important race for us, firstly because we know it's going to be difficult and secondly because we have to try to get more points from Hayden in order to stay in the fight," he added. "My M1 has been pretty good recently and I think we're going there in good shape, so hopefully we can make the most of the weekend and go back to Europe with an even better shot at the title."