Rossi expects close title fight between Pedrosa and Lorenzo

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 24 August 2012 18:28

Valentino Rossi believes the 2012 MotoGP title fight between Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa could go all the way to the last race in Valencia.

Just 18-points split series leader Lorenzo and Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa with seven races remaining and the 2012 title scrap is now between the two after Casey Stoner’s bid was wrecked by injury.

The reigning world champion is currently heading back to Australia for surgery on the right ankle he damaged in a qualifying crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and could be sidelined until the Japanese Grand Prix in mid-October.

Rossi, who will quit Ducati at the end of the season to re-join Lorenzo in Yamaha’s factory squad, said: “Stoner was still in the fight for the championship before his crash in Indy because he showed he was still very fast and could recover some points.  The title will now be great battle between Jorge and Dani and it could go down to the final race.”

Rossi though believes Lorenzo is the favourite heading into the final third of the campaign and he added: “I think that Jorge's speed makes him the favourite and he as an 18-point advantage and he has showed that when he is not at his best he arrives in second. Jorge is very fast and very constant but Dani is also very fast and has some good tracks coming up. But I think Jorge is the favourite but it will be a good fight."

Lorenzo has won five races in 2012 and his lead in the points could have been by a much more comfortable margin had he not been wiped out by Alvaro Bautista in a first corner incident at Assen.

Pedrosa has won two races and is enjoying the best campaign of his MotoGP career. He has only finished off the podium once when he was fourth in a rain-lashed French Grand Prix at Le Mans.