After claiming a first ever MotoGP podium at Aragon, Aleix Espargaro starts his final four races as a Forward Yamaha rider with a slim four point lead over younger brother Pol.

Aleix is leaving for Suzuki next season and a strong performance in front of the Japanese bosses at Motegi this weekend would thus be especially welcome, as well as helping in his fight to secure sixth place from Pol.

Pol is riding the Factory class Tech 3 Yamaha while Aleix has the Open class M1 package. In practice it has meant Aleix loses out on top speed and electronic sophistication, but can benefit from more fuel and a softer rear tyre.

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"We arrive in Japan after the great second place scored at Aragon," said Aleix. "It was an enormous satisfaction to get this result, a target we were chasing since Qatar. I look forward to race in Japan to continue this positive momentum and we are determined to get another good result.

"Motegi is a 'stop and go' track, where we spend a lot of time in the first and second gears. Acceleration here is very important and I'm confident to make another strong performance."

Aleix will be joined at Suzuki by Moto2 star Maverick Vinales, with Forward fielding an all-new line-up of Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz.