Madrid: Valentino Rossi will have to hold off a Spanish charge from Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and world champion Marc Marquez to enhance his chances of a 10th world championship at the Aragon Grand Prix this weekend.
The Italian, who hasn`t won a world title since 2009, holds a 23-point lead over Lorenzo with just five races to go this season.
However, in contrast to Lorenzo and Marquez, Rossi has never won at the Alcaniz circuit in north-eastern Spain.
"There are five races from here to the end of the season. If that`s many or few, I don`t know, it depends on your point of view, but I do know that it will be important to win races," said Rossi.
"Now we go to Aragon, a track where we tested some weeks ago. The results were positive but Jorge also went very fast. Our competitors are usually strong here too, so it will be a very challenging weekend."
Lorenzo was victorious in Aragon last season to temporarily delay Marquez`s title party and has saved his best for home soil this season too with two of his five wins coming at the Spanish and Catalan Grand Prix`s.
"From now on, the fight for title will be tight, but I believe in myself and in my team as well," said Lorenzo.
"We need to keep trying until the end and fight every race to catch up on points compared to Valentino.
"He is riding well and got important points in the last few races, but I`m quite confident we can improve in the last five races."
Marquez`s hopes of a third consecutive world title appear slim as he is 63 points back on Rossi.
However, despite having a season dogged by non-finishes, the 22-year-old is the man in form having won three of the last five races.
Moreover, he also knows what it takes to win in Aragon having done so in 2013 and in his time as a Moto2 rider.
Marquez was on course to seal the championship in record time at this race last year until a crash caused by refusing to change tyres on a wet track allowed Lorenzo to take the win.
And the Honda rider is hoping weather doesn`t play a part at what he describes as his favourite track on the MotoGP circuit.
"This is my favourite track of the year and we`ve had good results in the past, despite last year`s unfortunate rain-affected race," he said.
"Let`s hope this weekend we can have a `normal` race weekend with good weather so we can work hard from the Friday and be ready for the fight on Sunday."
France`s Johann Zarco can round off a dominant season in the Moto2 category by sealing the world championship this weekend.
Zarco needs to finish seven points better off than closest challenger Esteve Rabat from Spain.
Britain`s Danny Kent can also edge closer to the Moto3 title as he holds a commanding 55-point lead over Italy`s Enea Bastianini.