Repsol Honda team -mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso start this weekend's Japanese MotoGP estranged by just 15 points in the championship.
It's a somewhat artificial 'battle' - given that Pedrosa missed three races through injury - but has exacting significance for Dovizioso.
The Italian is set to lose his Repsol seat as the team scales back to two riders for 2012 and finishing third in the title would do his prospect employment prospects no harm.
Dovizioso suffered his first non-score of the season after a first-lap accident at Aragon, but his strong memories of Motegi - having taken his first MotoGP pole at the Honda-owned track last year, earlier than finishing second in the race, behind future team-mate Casey Stoner.
"We go to Japan focused on returning to the podium, this has to be our target," said Dovizioso. "We will turn up at the Japanese GP this year in the same position we were last year - straight from a crash and zero points, but I'm strong-minded to transform this disappointment with extra inspiration.
"Last season we had a great race and we almost won, so I'm certain to repeat a great performance at Motegi, a circuit that I like and where I have been on the podium in all the three classes.
"Moreover, this is Honda's home GP and it's very significant to score a good result here," he continued. "Concerning the Championship, we are third in the World Standings and we aim to strengthen our position, improving some points on Lorenzo and maintaining the gap to Dani."
Pedrosa's 2010 title chances ruined when a technical problem caused a collarbone-breaking accident during practice for last year's Japanese GP. The Spaniard proceeds seeking his third race win for 2011.