Factory Ducati rider Casey Stoner has backed team-mate Loris Capirossi to push rivals Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa all the way in the 2007 MotoGP world championship.
While recent winter testing performances have seen Rossi and Pedrosa emerge as clear favourites, Aussie Stoner said it would be foolish to rule Italian veteran Capirossi out of the reckoning.
Capirossi enjoyed his best premier class season ever in 2006, winning three races to finish third in the final standings. He only lost the title by 23-points despite a nightmare mid-season when he was injured in the first corner carnage at Barcelona.
Stoner told MCN: “Loris has got a good chance this year. He had a lot of bad luck last year but he gets faster every year. He was only a few points off it in the end and had it not been for Barcelona he would have put more effort in at the end, if that were possible.
Things just didn’t go for him but I expect he’ll be at the front challenging again.”