The Rossi and Gibernau duel will reach new levels on Sunday as Sete is keen to dethrone Rossi, who has won his last six races from six starts at the Rio circuit.

The Rossi and Gibernau duel will reach new levels on Sunday as Sete is keen to dethrone Rossi, who has won his last six races from six starts at the Rio circuit.

As the two riders continue their battle for the series’ lead, sharing an equal number of points, Gibernau is eager to upstage the Italian who, besides his excellent record at the Jacarepagua circuit, already has four MotoGP wins this season.

“My Yamaha M1 seems to adapt well to different circuits,” the Doctor said. “We're a winning combination, Yamaha and I. I'm very happy to be in this position at this stage. It wasn't in our plans at this point but to be halfway through the season and leading the championship is incredible.”

“Sete is always there, riding very well and, as it stands, it seems to be between him and me. It looks as if it will be a hard fight right through to the end. Recently no one is splitting us and we're only putting five points between us each time. This championship is tight!

Rossi’s spectacular form spells a huge change in fortune for the Japanese factory, which is now leading the constructor’s championship after six races this season. Fellow Yamaha rider Marco Melandri finished on the podium at the last race in Assen. His second successive podium finish also marked the first time Yamaha has had two riders on the podium since 2000.

Gibernau, who finished second to Rossi at Rio last year, is hoping for something special to prevent Rossi from walking away with the honours this weekend.

Max Biaggi who has ridden his Honda well for third place on the championship table, has a whole pack of riders hot on his tail to challenge the top riders.

Rossi’s factory team mate, Carlos Checa, is the most notable, with Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards sharing sixth place on the standings two points behind Checa.

After two disastrous races on the Repsol Honda, local hero Alex Barros returns to Brazil and is hoping that racing in front of his home crowd will grant him some good luck. He has crashed out of the last two races while chasing down podium finishes.

Armed with a new engine that is reportedly performing much better than its predecessor, Ducati’s Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss will be hoping to boost their points positions.

Former winner in the 500 cm3 class for Yamaha in 2003, Norick Abe is more than capable of springing a surprise attack on Rossi and Gibernau on Sunday. Makota Tamada and Shinya Nakano, who have displayed strong performances in the season thus far, should also be hoping to launch their respective assaults on the podium spots.

Original article from Car