Jorge Lorenzo must beat Valentino Rossi at Aragon on Sunday if he is to stay within one race victory of the MotoGP title lead heading into the crucial flyaway phase.
The Spaniard has set a peerless practice pace since the summer break, only to lose points to his Movistar Yamaha team-mate in race-day rain at the last two rounds, including a costly DNF last time at Misano.
From being equal at the top of the standings after Brno, Rossi has pulled 23 points clear of Lorenzo with five rounds and 125 points still available.
“For me Aragon is a very important race because, depending on the result, it can be more possible or much more difficult to win the world title,” Lorenzo said.
“So in this race it is very important that I finish in front of Valentino and then we will arrive at the races outside Europe, that are always very important, and I always have the impression that there a lot of things can happen there. I don't know why, but I have this impression.
“So for sure it is important to try to finish in front of Vale here and then we will see what happens in the flyaway races.”
Also speaking on Thursday at Aragon, Rossi's situation gave him a slightly different view. The Doctor believes this weekend is no different to the previous European rounds, but does feel that October's three back-to-back events in Japan, Australia and Malaysia will be critical to the title outcome.
“For me this one is the same as Misano or Silverstone or Brno. Because first of all you are still in Europe, so it is more easy with the travel and only one weekend. So start from home, you arrive here, you know exactly what you have to do. You have three days at 100 percent and after you have one week to relax. So here [Aragon] is no different,” he said.
“The difference will be in the three races outside Europe because you have a different feeling, you have to organise all the trip and try to organise your life to be ready and relaxed in the moment when you have to go on the bike. And especially it is three weeks in a row, which means it will be for sure the most important moment in the championship. Also because three in a row is more stress and a bit more difficult to manage.”
Lorenzo, who won at a dry-wet Aragon last season while Rossi crashed out, has helped design the trophy for this weekend's Aragon round.
"At Montmeló I brainstormed with Marc Garcia Rojals, the trophy designer, to find a good concept and I think for us the most representative part of the Motorland Aragón circuit is the big stone wall," Lorenzo explained.
"I think the result of our collaboration is pretty good and the trophy is very beautiful, different to what we have ever seen being handed out so far. I'm very happy that I got to be involved in this project and I would like to thank Movistar for this initiative.
"Let's hope we're able to get our hands on the trophy on Sunday."