Troy Bayliss could secure his third and final World Superbike title on his last appearance in front of Ducati's home fans, at Vallelunga on Sunday.
Bayliss will start this weekend's event with a 101 point advantage over nearest rival Troy Corser, with a maximum of 150 points still to be claimed in the final three rounds (and six races) of the 2008 season.
In short, if Bayliss can leave Vallelunga with his current advantage over second position intact then he will be crowned champion. Mathematically, Corser, Max Neukirchner, Carlos Checa and Noriyuki Haga - all separated by just 28 points - can still take the title.
Bayliss claimed the most recent of his eight wins so far this season last time out at Donington Park, although he tumbled from his 1098 F08 in the second race.
Last year at Vallelunga, the Australian finished first and second - a repeat of that performance will see Troy crowned champion, although it's not something he wants to think too much about.
"It is very strange to think that I only have three races left before I conclude my Superbike career," admitted Bayliss, WSBK champion in 2001 and 2006. "I'm trying not to think about the fact that I could sew things up at Vallelunga, I'll just be going out there and giving it my all as I have done every weekend until now and see what happens! Everything went well here last year so I'm hoping to have a similarly successful weekend again this year."
After Vallelunga, only Magny-Cours and Portimao will remain before the close of the 2008 season.
Meanwhile, Bayliss' team-mate Michel Fabrizio - who celebrates his 24th birthday on Wednesday - is aiming to improve on his fifth place finish of 2007 in front of his home fans.
"Of course I want to do well in front of my home crowd. A lot of family and friends will be coming along to see me race too so I hope to be able to have two great races," said Michel, currently ninth in the championship with five podium finishes. "Last year could have gone better, my final results were a 5th and a DNF, so I'd like to improve on that now I'm aboard the Ducati F08. I also want to wish my team-mate Troy good luck for Sunday's races!"