In his own words, the 2003 German Grand Prix was one of Sete Gibernau's best races to date, the Spaniard beating fellow Honda rider Valentino Rossi by 0.06secs after outsmarting The Doctor in the final corner - and a repeat would be even more important this Sunday.

Rossi looked assured of victory but, expecting an inside 'block pass' from Gibernau, took a defensive line heading into the last turn. Gibernau reacted by staying wide, then cutting across the apex and just out-accelerating Rossi to the flag.

One year later and, with Rossi now on a Yamaha, that type of bar-to-bar battle has been repeated many times - leaving the pair tied at the top of the championship standings, despite a double DNF last time out in Rio, after both fell in unrelated accidents.

Prior to Rio, Gibernau appeared to have been losing momentum to the Italian - and doesn't particularly enjoy the Sachsenring layout - but will be boosted by his 2003 performance as he attempts to take his third victory of the year and halt Rossi's charge.

"It's slow and difficult," declared Gibernau of the Sachsenring. "But then again it was one of the best races of my life last year. The crowd is amazing and I have lots of support from fan clubs based here.

"The last two turns offer good overtaking opportunities and the descent is the quickest and the most difficult part of the track," he added. "The bike settings need to be spot-on to get drive out of the slower turns."

Rossi (4) and Gibernau (2) have won all but one of the seven Motorcycle Grands Prix so far this season, Makoto Tamada having taken victory in Rio.