Max Biaggi has often been criticised for blaming poor performance on machinery disadvantages or set-up issues, but the Roman was quick to credit Honda for his Assen turnaround.

Biaggi had qualified just 12th for the Dutch TT after fighting a lack of corner speed during both days of practice, but looked a different man on race day and kept his ever fading championship hopes alive with a fourth placed finish, just 0.25secs from Marco Melandri and a podium.

"Honda gave us massive support in Assen, doing some great work after qualifying, giving me confidence for the race and demonstrating that, with collaboration, even the most difficult situations can be resolved," said Max, perhaps keen to emphasise the difference HRC can make. "This is what gives me a big lift to be able to take on the Rio race in confident mood."

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Biaggi badly needs to break the Valentino Rossi/Sete Gibernau dominance: The Italian is 33 points adrift of the leading pair and has yet to achieve a win this season. He's scored points at every race (as have Rossi and Gibernau), but two second places and two thirds are not enough to keep him in the hunt while the main men share wins. He needs a victory in Brazil.