Valentino Rossi believes Jorge Lorenzo is still the favourite to clinch his second MotoGP world title in 2012, despite a last lap defeat in Brno to Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa reducing his advantage to just 13-points.
Lorenzo led the 22-lap race going into the final chicane but he ran wide at the left-hander and Pedrosa pounced to snatch the victory powering through the right-hander.
Pedrosa won by 0.176s to claim a second successive victory and pile the pressure on Lorenzo, who hasn’t won since the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello last month.
Factory Ducati Rossi though believes that Lorenzo is still going to be hard to beat with six races of the campaign remaining.
The 33-year-old, who will partner Lorenzo again in Yamaha’s factory squad in 2013 and ’14, told MCN: "The favourite for the title remains Lorenzo. It is 60 to 40 I think just because Jorge has the advantage in points. Thirteen points starts to be a very small advantage and now he has to concentrate and not make any mistakes. The same also for Dani. The result is not negative for Lorenzo's mind but it can be very positive for Dani, because he was able to beat Lorenzo in the last lap. It will be interesting for six races.”
Rossi said he had watched the replay of their epic last lap fight and he said Pedrosa had got his tactics spot on, while adding that the race provided some much-needed excitement that has been sadly lacking in MotoGP in 2012.
Rossi added: “I saw the footage and I think Dani played his cards very well. It was a good fight and we need races like this in MotoGP with a fight on the last lap that is exciting."
Rossi’s own race was compromised by an oil leak and lack of rear grip. He had started from a season best sixth on the grid and held fifth until lap nine. He eventually slipped back to seventh and he said: “I started well and the early laps weren’t bad, although the bike started to lose oil right from the beginning. It went on the footrests and the brake- and shift levers, which bothered me, as my feet were slipping everywhere. I probably could have done a bit better without that inconvenience, and maybe I would have finished close to (Andrea) Dovizioso. Anyway, I also had to slow down because the rear tyre began sliding too much after some laps, which has been our problem.”
For seven pages of news from the Czech Republic MotoGP race, see the August 29 issue of MCN.