Valentino Rossi hopes he can score a podium finish at Philip Island to get back on the rostrum in Australia for the first time since 2010.
Rossi had a supreme record at the 2.7mile track, securing 13 successive podium finishes before his ruinous switch to Ducati in 2011 broke the trend.
“The Doctor” has performed diligently this season, but has found it hard to oust Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and championship leader Marc Marquez from the top three slots in most races.
The 34-year old has struggled with the trio’s pace recently, finishing fourth in five of the last six races, but did finish only three seconds adrift of Lorenzo last week in Malaysia.
Rossi has also had to contend with the threat from behind, including Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista, but he believes Phillip Island can prove a happy place this weekend.
“The podium is my target. Why not? I have to continue in the current way,” explained the six-time world champion to MCN.
“The Hondas were very fast in Sepang but I was just three seconds behind Jorge, so maybe the Hondas can have some problem and if I can stay close to Jorge it means I can be on the podium."
The race in Australia can see Marc Marquez wrap up the championship, but Rossi believes team-mate Lorenzo will not give up the fight until the very end.
“Marc is 43-points ahead with three races left, so he could win it in Phillip Island but I think Jorge will not give up until the end,” the Yamaha rider told MCN.
“Phillip Island is another world too because the track and conditions are very different so maybe it will be very cold and not hot.”
Marquez is 43 points ahead of second placed Lorenzo, and can claim championship victory if he betters the Yamaha rider’s result by eight points or more.
He would become the first rookie to win the premier class since Kenny Roberts in 1978.