Valentino Rossi is trying to keep a lid on expectations that he will clinch a seventh MotoGP crown in Malaysia this weekend, the Italian insisting he is taking nothing for granted.
The 30-year-old goes into this weekend’s Sepang clash with a commanding 38-point lead over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo with just two races remaining.
The Italian is red-hot favourite to wrap up his ninth career world title success, but the record-breaking MotoGP winner said: “I’m taking nothing for granted.
"A lot of time also during this season, I had also 50 point of advantage on Jorge, but made a mistake, so we need to work like last week in Australia.”
Rossi though admitted he had his ‘first match point’ to lift the 2009 crown with Lorenzo’s title hopes suffering a crushing blow when he crashed out at the first corner of last weekend’s Australian GP at Phillip Island.
Rossi added: “We have the first good match point for the championship, because after the mistake of Jorge in Phillip Island we have a good advantage.
"But we have to take it like a normal race, especially from the practice because I like this track a lot. I’m happy especially because we worked well in Phillip Island for the whole weekend and my bike in the race worked very well.
"Well. The main target is to arrive on Sunday with a good setting. I like this track, but also Casey (Stoner) and Dani (Pedrosa) are very fast in Sepang and Jorge wants to make a good result for sure after a bad result in Phillip Island.”
Rossi only needs to finish fourth if Lorenzo manages to win his fifth race of the season and Rossi said he would ride a tactical race if needed.
“It is more important to think of the championship than of the race. The main target is to arrive in the first four if Jorge wins.
"But we have to try to stay in front of him and try to arrive on the podium. This is, I think, is a good result."