Casey Stoner will be out to spoil Jorge Lorenzo's dominance when he returns from injury at this weekend's Japanese MotoGP.
World champion Stoner will get back on his Repsol Honda a fortnight ahead of schedule after missing the past three races following serious leg injuries suffered at the Indianapolis MotoGP in mid-August.
The 26-year-old Australian's hopes of retaining his title evaporated with that crash where he tore ligaments in his ankle, requiring surgery.
That has left him 104 points adrift of leader Lorenzo with only a maximum 100 on offer in the four remaining races.
However, he can affect the final outcome of who succeeds him as champion by putting a stop to Lorenzo's winning ways.
"I have spent a quiet week in Australia," Stoner wrote on his blog.
"I have been resting, doing a little physio and following doctors' orders in order to recover.
"The good news is that I think I will be able to ride at Motegi (the Japanese circuit) and rejoin my team next week."
Lorenzo, the 2010 world champion, leads fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa by 33 points with the latter - Stoner's team-mate - having slightly narrowed the gap in winning last Sunday's Aragon MotoGP.
Pedrosa can mathematically beat Lorenzo to the title if he wins all four remaining rounds - starting with this week's race at the Motegi circuit.
But Lorenzo feels attack is the best form of defence and will be out to secure top spot on the podium in Japan.
"We start the Asiatic tour leading the Championship and in a good shape after the Aragon race. It's going to be difficult because our competitors at this moment of the season are very strong but we have to play our cards in the best possible way," Lorenzo said.
"Motegi is a track that I like, I won here in 2009 and I think we can fight for the win again this weekend."
Originally designed as a test venue in 1997, the Motegi track has a geometric layout with a surface that offers good grip at numerous second-gear corners.The Japanese MotoGP is the first of three consecutive races outside Europe before the series heads back to Valencia for the season finale.