Valentino Rossi says he hopes to 'fight for the title on equal terms' with his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, as he awaits a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on a request to suspend his Sepang penalty.
Rossi, who leads Lorenzo by seven points heading into this weekend's championship showdown at Valencia, received three penalty points for causing a collision that sent Marc Marquez out of the Malaysian race – and is due to start last on the grid at Valencia as a result.
To avoid such a setback Rossi has appealed to the CAS to reduce or annul his Sepang penalty - but since such a decision could take months, he has also asked for the penalty points to be suspended until the CAS reaches its final judgement.
Such a "stay of execution" is thus arguably more important than the final CAS verdict: If the penalty is suspended Rossi can start from his normal grid spot and, if the CAS later confirms the FIM punishment, he would serve the last place start some time next season instead.
Likewise, if the "stay" is rejected then Rossi will start last on the grid and it will be largely irrelevant whether the CAS confirms or removes the three penalty points at a later date, since the championship will have been decided.
The CAS expects to announce if Rossi's request for a penalty suspension has been accepted "no later than" Friday.
The 36-year-old said he is only focusing on his work on track, but explained he launched the appeal to CAS because he feels he should be able to fight for the title on an equal standing with Lorenzo.
The Sepang punishment only meant a back of the grid start at Valencia because Rossi already had one penalty point from Misano.
“I'm still waiting to hear the decision of the CAS, but I hope I can do a normal GP to battle and fight for the title on equal terms with Jorge,” Rossi said. “In Valencia there will be so many fans and I'm glad for that. I'll try to do my best on the track.
“It will be a very intense weekend and also a very important one. I want to think just about what will happen at the track.”
With the post-Sepang fallout still overhanging the MotoGP season finale, Rossi says he wants to produce his own response to the controversy on-track by sealing a tenth world title and eighth MotoGP crown.
“My goal is to work at my best capabilities with my team and make the most of every session to get to the race on Sunday with everything I need to express myself in the best way possible,” he added.
Rossi hasn't won the MotoGP title since 2009 but has led this year's standings - barring a brief points tie with Lorenzo after Brno - since a victory in round one.
The oldest rider on the grid, many believe it is now or never for Rossi's tenth world title...