Sete Gibernau, the only man that now stands between Valentino Rossi and a third premier-class crown, remains optimistic of a top three performance tomorrow - despite qualifying seventh - providing Honda can come to his aide once again...

"We are missing a little on top speed and acceleration," said the Telefonica backed rider. "I'm sure if Honda can once more give us some help with the engine then we can be in the right shape to fight for the podium."

The Catalan's request for HRC's assistance follows a similar situation at Rio, when he was again struggling on top speed and acceleration compared with his rivals during qualifying. Then Honda's help enabled Gibernau to claim a second place finish on race day.

However, it would be slightly ironic if Gibernau were to deny Rossi of the title tomorrow thanks partly to assistance from the Italian's own employers. Then again, with Rossi rumoured to be heading to Yamaha next year...

Meanwhile, Gibernau's team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari - unlikely to remain with his current team next year - struggled again today. The Japanese remains determined to improve his times in the warm-up, although his 21st place is permanent until the lights go green tomorrow.

"This is perhaps the most difficult circuit I have ever ridden," said Kiyonari. "The heat is not too much of a problem and I think I can improve a little tomorrow."

 

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