Outside of the championship contenders themselves, Dani Pedrosa is likely to have the biggest influence on this weekend's Valencia MotoGP title showdown.

Just as in the previous 2006 MotoGP title decider, Pedrosa is expected to be asked to support his Repsol Honda team-mate.

In 2006 it was Nicky Hayden, whom rookie Pedrosa had taken down and out of the championship lead after a fumbled pass at the penultimate Estoril event.

Related Articles

Pedrosa then waved Hayden ahead en route to title glory over Valentino Rossi at Valencia, but it will be a bitter pill for Pedrosa to swallow if he has to pull over for rookie Marquez on Sunday.

However this time, with his team-mate ahead in the standings, one of the best way's Pedrosa can help Marquez's title challenge is to win the race.

Marquez needs to finish fourth or better if Yamaha's reigning double champion Jorge Lorenzo takes victory. But if Lorenzo finishes second, Marquez needs only eighth place to be champion.

Pedrosa - whose own mathematical title chance ended last time in Japan - has claimed twelve podiums, including three wins this year. He is also the defending (triple) Valencia MotoGP race winner.

"I'm looking forward to going to Valencia and racing in front of the home fans! We've had a long trip in Asia and it will be nice to race in Valencia again, where the atmosphere is always very special," he said.

"Even though we are out of the Championship now, I've had good results here in the past with many victories - including last year when we won after starting from the pits - and I want to end the season on a high."

Triple title runner-up Pedrosa is the most successful rider without a premier-class title.