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The 23-year-old has won five of the six races this season and a good series at Imola will further enhance her prospects.
The Dunedin-based rider leads the competition standings with 139 points. She is 14 points clear of Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven, while German competitor Larissa Papenmeier is a further three points back on 122 points.
But with a maximum of 100 points still on offer for the four remaining races, the championship is very much alive.
Duncan is aware that anything can happen no matter how handy the lead. Events have conspired to rob her of an opportunity to hold the trophy aloft for three consecutive years.
While she cannot call herself a world champion, she has been the fastest rider on the circuit and is in good form again.
This year she switched to a United Kingdom-based team and is riding a Kawasaki.
The transition has been relatively smooth. And she is commuting back to New Zealand more often which has helped keep her fresh.
She is confident and fast and it is proving a winner combination.
While she has not raced at Imola before, she was there last year and has had a good look at the track.
It was packed pretty hard "and it should shape up really well", Duncan told the Otago Daily Times.
"I'm feeling good going into the weekend. I've had another good stint after the last round in Prague and was able to make more improvements on the bike.
"And I feel like I'm getting faster each week. That just comes with more time on the bike and with the team over here."
The forecast is promising. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s both days.
Duncan is not one to dwell on the bad luck she has had to endure in the past. She is extremely driven and wants to to win the world title.
That has always kept her going despite the injury setbacks, the crashes and that stray photographer who wandered too close to the track.