Current MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is in line to claim this year’s title at Philip Island in Sunday’s penultimate race, but maintains that the battle is far from won.

Current MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is in line to claim this year’s title at Philip Island in Sunday’s penultimate race, but maintains that the battle is far from won.

Rossi needs to finish in the top two positions to secure the MotoGP title, but is taking a cautious approach to the weekend’s racing.

"We had a bigger advantage earlier in the season but then I crashed in Qatar and within one race it was all open again, so it is not over until it is over," said Rossi.

“This is a good place for us and a good place for me. It is an old style track, with a lot of different corners and it's one of the best for the riders - not just me, everybody loves this track," The Doctor added.

The Yamaha racer holds a 30-point lead over his closest rival, Sete Gibernau, who only managed to finish seventh in the last race in Malaysia. Making things harder for Gibernau is that Rossi loves the circuit, and has won MotoGP races there for the last three years.

But Sunday’s meeting will not only be about Rossi and Gibernau. Max Biaggi, who is currently third on the title log, handed Yamaha a victory at the Australian circuit four years ago. Former WSBK riders Colin Edwards, Ruben Xaus, Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson are all familiar with the track’s layout and demands.

Local hero Troy Bayliss is seeking added support from his home crowd after learning this week that he will no longer be racing for Ducati next year.

"It's been a tough season for me and everybody at Ducati so to be leaving at the end of the season is like a final kick in the teeth," admitted Bayliss. The Australian won the World Superbike series with Ducati before joining MotoGP and scoring three podium positions last season.

"I didn't want the relationship to end because I don't feel as though I've really shown what I can do in MotoGP yet, but that's racing and you've got to take it on the chin.

Bayliss would like to continue racing in MotoGP next season, though.

"I would like to stay in MotoGP because I don't think I've shown what I can do and time will tell. It's a bit unclear at the moment how it's going to turn out but I'm sure that in the next week or two things are going to unfold for me and for a lot of other people as well."

Yamaha's Carlos Checa and Suzuki's John Hopkins are the most likely candidates linked to the second Ducati ride alongside Loris Capirossi next season.