All the attention may be on their team-mates, but Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi could have a crucial part to play in this weekend's Valencia MotoGP title showdown.
Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez begins the event with a 13-point lead over Rossi's fellow factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
That means rookie Marquez only needs a top four finish even if Lorenzo wins.
But while Rossi has said he will do what he can to help his team-mate, Pedrosa seemed less enthusiastic.
“Well HRC has no team orders, as everybody knows,” said Pedrosa at Valencia on Thursday. “I think he [Marquez] has 13 points, is on the podium in every race, so is anyway capable to do it.”
Fortunately for Marquez, as highlighted earlier this week,
one of the best ways that Pedrosa can help his team-mate is to win the race.
If Lorenzo cannot take victory on Sunday, Marquez only needs to finish in the top eight to be champion.
“I will try to do my best in the race, and winning the race is the best way to help the team,” confirmed Pedrosa, whose own title chance effectively ended when he fell after light contact from Marquez disabled his traction control at Aragon.
Rossi meanwhile will simply try and finish ahead of Marquez. “For me I think the best way to help Jorge is to try to arrive in front of Marc. I know it is very difficult but for sure I will try.”
Reflecting on the title battle, the seven time MotoGP champion added:
“For me both riders deserve the championship, because Jorge did a fantastic job and also Marc, for sure, as a rookie. Now they have to decide all in one race. Marc has some advantage but to decide everything in one shot is always difficult but very exciting.”
Rossi lost the 2006 title to Nicky Hayden at the final round.