Having proven that team orders are not in effect at FIAT Yamaha between himself and MotoGP title-elect team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi is plotting a similarly feisty performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Italian scored his sixth podium of the season after coming out on top of an exciting duel with Lorenzo during the latter stages of the race, Rossi overcoming pain from his shoulder to get the edge on the Spaniard.
One of his most convincing performances since returning from injury in July, Rossi was pleased to be fighting back at the front in Japan, though he is reserving judgement on how his shoulder will contend with the Sepang circuit until action gets underway.
"Japan was very exciting for us and it felt good to be fighting at the front through all the sessions and the race; it's been a long time since we were that strong. I don't know until I start riding how Sepang will feel on my shoulder but it is one of my two or three favourite tracks in the world and I am always excited to go there.
“We were strong there in winter testing, obviously a lot has changed since then but we made some good improvements to our bike in Japan so I hope we can be in the same kind of form this weekend."
Despite his podium, Rossi dropped behind Andrea Dovizioso in the fight for fourth in the standings at Motegi.