Having slipped 38 points behind team-mate and title leader Valentino Rossi, with only 50 points remaining, Jorge Lorenzo claims he is now thinking only about confirming second in the 2009 MotoGP World Championship.
Lorenzo's hopes of at least taking the title down to the final round were dealt a mortal blow when he hit the back of Nicky Hayden into turn one of last Sunday's Australian Grand Prix and fell at high-speed.
The young Spaniard, approaching the end of only his second season in MotoGP, had begun the race 18 points behind Rossi, but even if Lorenzo wins his fifth race of the year at Sepang on Sunday - Rossi only needs fourth place to be crowned champion for a seventh time.
"After the disappointment in Australia I am glad to have the chance to be back on the bike so soon. I am not hurt and I will be in good shape to race,” said Lorenzo.
“We don't think about the championship now; my target is to confirm the second place in the championship and, in just my second season in MotoGP, I think that this is a great achievement and I will be happy if I can do it,” added the #99, who finished fourth during his rookie 2008 season, with one race win.
Lorenzo crashed out on lap 12 of last year's Malaysian Grand Prix, but otherwise has a reasonable past record at Sepang, having won in 2006 and clinched his second 250cc title there in 2007.
“I like Sepang a lot, I know it well from testing and I have some great memories, especially in 2007 when I took the 250 title there,” said the 22-year-old. “This time my team and I will just be focused on having a good weekend and getting as many points as we can in order to achieve our target."
Lorenzo will start the weekend 37 points ahead of Casey Stoner (Ducati) and 43 points ahead of Dani Pedrosa (Honda), who are the only two riders that can still mathematically deprive him of the runner-up position.
"We have two races left and our target is to confirm second place for Jorge and just do the maximum we can in these two important races to finish a great championship in the best way,” said team manager Daniele Romagnoli, who is rumoured to be leaving the team at the end of the season.
When both have finished a race, Rossi has beaten Lorenzo 6-4 so far this season.