World Champion Valentino Rossi arrives in Valencia on the RC211V Repsol Honda this weekend leading an all-conquering four-stroke revolution which will once again provide the spark for a motorcycling fiesta on the Iberian peninsular.

After some problems in the two previous races, the 23-year-old Italian was back to his best in the last round at Phillip Island in Australia where he fought off the challenge of the in-form Brazilian Alex Barros.

Rossi's team-mate Tohru Ukawa finished third and is just one point behind Max Biaggi, who is second in the championship, riding the Marlboro Yamaha M1.

The tight and demanding 4.005km (2.489 miles) Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia will also host the final showdown in the 125cc World Championship battle between current Champion Manuel Poggiali and championship-leader Arnaud Vincent.

Barros has been in superb form since being given the RCV Honda four-stroke. The veteran has finished on the podium in the last three races, including victory at Motegi, and will be desperate to finish the year with another win at the circuit where he finished second last year.

Former 125 and 250cc World Champion Loris Capirossi makes his last appearance on the NSR 500cc West Honda Pons machine before beginning his Ducati career two days later with his first test on the new four-stroke in Valencia.

Norick Abe hopes to be fit to ride the Antena 3 Yamaha D'Antin four-stroke Yamaha after he missed his debut on the machine when he crashed during practice in Australia while Carlos Checa will be looking to impress in front of the home crowd after a disappointing run of results on the Marlboro Yamaha.

Spaniard Sete Gibernau won a very emotional race for Telefonica Movistar Suzuki last year while Frenchman Regis Laconi, who won the race three years ago, is fighting for his MotoGP future on the MS Aprilia.

Japanese rider Daijiro Kato returns to yet another circuit on the RCV Fortuna Honda Gresini machine where he won the 250cc race last year.

The huge crowd set to flock to the Cheste venue on the outskirts of Valencia will witness the 500cc two-stroke machines bow out of competitive racing, after dominating the premier class of Grand Prix for almost 30 years. This final event of the 16-round 2002 MotoGP World Championship will be the last time the 500cc two-strokes take on the new generation of four-stroke machines that have dominated the proceedings since their introduction at the start of this year.

The 250cc World Championship was decided in favour of Aprilia rider Marco Melandri in Australia after he beat his great rival Fonsi Nieto by just 0.007 seconds to win the race and claim his first world title. Nieto put up a tremendous fight and will want to beat the new champion in front of his home crowd. Italian Roberto Rolfo looks a safe third on the Honda Gresini machine but the battle for fourth place could not be closer. Nieto's team-mate Toni Elias and Argentinean Sebastian Porto are tied on points. Both secured their first 250cc grand prix victories this year.

It's the day of reckoning for the 125cc World Championship with Vincent leading Poggiali by a frail eight points going into the final showdown. Vincent, riding the Imola Circuit Exalt Cycle Race Aprilia, saw his lead slashed by 12 points in Australia where he finished fourth in the race won by 19-year-old Poggiali. If Poggiali's Gilera crosses the line in first place once again on Sunday, Vincent must finish second to claim his first world title. It promises to be a fierce battle of tactics with the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Lucio Cecchinello showing no respect to the championship chances of Vincent or Poggiali in what could be the race of the season.



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