Next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi will be a significant event for both Nicky Hayden and Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
For Hayden, it will be his last Japanese GP for home manufacturer Honda - which built the Motegi circuit to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1998 - whilst Pedrosa will be keen to show the HRC bosses that his shock mid-season switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres was a correct one.
Less than one day after claiming his first podium of the season, with a second place finish behind Valentino Rossi in last Sunday's storm-shortened Indianapolis GP, Hayden was officially confirmed as a Ducati Marlboro rider for 2009.
Hayden, who won AMA Superbike title for Honda before moving to MotoGP with the Japanese factory in 2003, now hopes to carry his podium momentum into his final four RCV rides.
"Indy gave us a little bit of a boost, so we'll see if we can keep that going at Motegi," said Hayden, Honda's only MotoGP world champion since the departure of Valentino Rossi at the end of 2003.
"I'm looking forward to it because I'm planning on finishing the season strong. I owe that to Honda, they've been a big part of my career, so it would be nice to get some more podiums.
"This will be my last race on a Honda at their home track, so it would be really nice to get a result for all the Honda people who have worked with me," he confirmed.
However, whilst Hayden finished on the Motegi podium at his first attempt in 2003, the Kentuckian has failed to better fifth position since.
"First time I went to Motegi as a rookie in 2003 I battled with Sete [Gibernau], Valentino [Rossi] and Makoto [Tamada] and they ended up giving me third, my first top-three result. I thought 'wow, this is going to be a good track for me'," he admitted.