Max Biaggi could hardly have enjoyed more contrasting fortunes at the last two grands prix, but needs to find his best form and fortune as the MotoGP season draws to a close in Spain this weekend.

Three weeks ago in Malaysia, the Marlboro Yamaha Team star won a famous victory at Sepang, beating world champion Valentino Rossi's Honda into second place after a thrilling battle with both his fellow Italian and Brazilian veteran Alex Barros. However, two weeks ago in Australia, Biaggi had an altogether tougher time, ending a difficult weekend with a sixth-place finish.

This Sunday, it is imperative that the former 250 king does much better than that, because he's currently second overall, just one point ahead of Tohru Ukawa. Biaggi desperately wants to maintain his position in the championship and is ready for a fight on race day.

"I'm still second in the world championship, so I've simply got to do better than Ukawa at Valencia," explained Biaggi, who was also second overall in last year's final 500 series, "It's imperative for me to finish second overall - for Yamaha and for myself.

"We will have to wait and see how we go here. Our pre-season tests at the track didn't go so well, but the bike is working much better now, so I think we'll be competitive. Honda tested there a few months back and were very quick, so I think we'll be chasing them to start with, but we should have a good chance in the race. It's a very tight circuit - maybe not ideal for a 200-plus horsepower motorcycle - but it's our job to race at every kind of racetrack. It's a tough place on a big bike - very stop and go. It's not one of my favourites, but it's not so bad."

Last year, Biaggi scored a famous pole position at Valencia, bravely outpacing his rivals as light drizzle fell across the circuit. But a pre-race rain shower and an incorrect tyre choice spoiled his hopes of race victory. He finished the event in tenth, one place ahead of arch-rival Rossi.

"For sure, Valencia should be better than Phillip Island," commented Fiorenzo Fanali, Biaggi's crew chief, "It's a big weekend for us because our target is second overall in the world championship, so we have to make sure that Max beats Ukawa.

"As usual, we will start practice comparing two slightly different chassis. Valencia has a couple of fast corners, but most of the turns are tight and most of them are lefts, so it's not easy to find grip through the rights. Light handling is a major priority, so we'll adjust the chassis with that in mind. We also need to work to give Max the smoothest-possible power delivery for all the low-gear corner exits. We have checked the data from Phillip Island and, hopefully, that will help us to improve things."

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