Marco Melandri is confident he can maintain his strong run of World Superbike Championship form on the series' first visit to Russia having now moved to within striking distance of the overall lead.

Though the Italian didn't enjoy his best outing of the season in the tricky conditions of Silverstone, he still fared markedly better than Biaggi to reduce his advantage to 10.5 points with four rounds remaining.

Indeed, having now out-scored Biaggi in each of the last three rounds, a good performance at the all-new Moscow Raceway could see Melandri move ahead of his countryman into the lead of the standings, a potential milestone for both himself and the BMW team.

For the time being, Melandri is looking forward to sampling the Russian venue for the first time in a preliminary test session on Wednesday before the event gets underway this weekend.

"This will be my first time in Russia," he said. "I have never been there before, so it is going to be a new experience. It is a brand new circuit, but I know a little bit about it as I watched a car race on TV. The track looks good and very nice. There is a very slow section, a very long straight and long braking. It looks like it is going be very good fun and it seems to offer many overtaking opportunities.

"We will use the test to learn the circuit and to start work on the set-up. We will be 100 per cent focused and work hard to make best use of the sessions on this new circuit ahead of Superpole and the races. Our goal is to challenge for the top positions again in Moscow and to get as many points as possible."