British rider Cal Crutchlow believes it will be tough for Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa to wrestle the MotoGP title away from Casey Stoner in 2012 based on the reigning world champion's recent victories in Jerez and Estoril.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider reckons the Aussie is ‘in another league at the minute’ after Stoner triumphed with a brilliant display of under pressure riding during last Sunday’s Estoril clash in Portugal.
It was the Repsol Honda rider’s second win in a week and put him at the top of the world championship rankings and Stoner has prevailed in Jerez and Estoril despite battling technical and physical issues.
His factory Honda RC213V machine is still plagued by chronic chatter and Stoner hasn't been able to completely rid himself of the arm pump issue that cost him victory in the season’s opening round in Qatar last month.
And ominously for the MotoGP field, prior to the Jerez and Estoril races, Stoner had never won at either track. Yet in both he held off the relentless challenge of Yamaha rival Lorenzo to win.
Crutchlow, who has enjoyed a fantastic start to 2012 himself with three finishes inside the top five and two front rows in Qatar and Estoril, told MCN: “I’ve always said that Casey is the fastest guy in the world. Maybe over the seasons he hasn’t put a championship together but by far he is the best guy in the world.
"I would say Jorge is more consistent. Jorge can reel off 30 laps within 0.1s for no reason. Ask him how he does it and he doesn’t know. But what can you say about Casey?
"The only bad thing I can say about him is he doesn’t wait for me! Now he is in that groove I can tell you he will be hard to stop. He’s in another league at the minute and even compared to Dani, who is on the same bike.
"Sometimes on the Ducati he couldn’t get it right and we’ve seen now with Valentino (Rossi) and Nicky (Hayden) that it is not easy for them. Casey sometimes made it look easy on the Ducati. He is blisteringly fast and when you see what he does on track, you know that is not easy to do.
"What got me a few times last year was the first lap out of the pitlane on Friday morning, his first fast lap was under the lap record and you just think, how the hell does he do that?”
For the exclusive thoughts from Stoner on his Estoril success, see the May 9 issue of Motor Cycle News.