Michel Fabrizio is throwing his full support behind Noriyuki Haga ahead of his Ducati Xerox team-mate's title showdown with Ben Spies in Portugal.
The Italian, who is guaranteed to finish third in this year's standings, officially slipped out of contention last time out in France, so will now turn his attentions to aiding Haga's attempts to bring keep the title in Ducati's hands.
Fabrizio endured mixed fortunes at Portimao last season, his collision with Max Biaggi on the opening lap of the first race being followed by a then career-equalling second place finish behind title-winning team-mate Troy Bayliss.
Although the two-time race winner is keeping his expectations limited to a pair of podiums this time around, Fabrizio realises he has a potentially big role to play for the team.
“I've very happy with how my season's gone and I would like to finish the year with two more podiums. I'm feeling confident and am reassured that the third position that I hold in the standings can't be taken from me as fourth place Max is too far behind to catch up now. I hope Noriyuki can take the title for Ducati and I'll be backing him all the way this weekend.”