Casey Stoner reckons Jorge Lorenzo is the biggest hurdle standing in his way as he attempts to equal Wayne Rainey’s MotoGP victory tally in Estoril this weekend.
New world champion Lorenzo is undefeated in his MotoGP career at the Portuguese venue but seeking a third straight win he will face an in-form Stoner.
The Aussie has won three out of the last four races including a dominant start-to-finish success on home soil at Phillip Island earlier this month.
That took Stoner’s victory tally to 23 and leaves him just one shy of triple world 500cc champion Rainey’s 24 wins.
The 2007 world champion said: “I couldn't ask for anything more after Phillip Island. It has been a very tough season but these last four races have been really positive. I was disappointed with myself in Malaysia but last weekend made up for it, so I’ll see what I can do here this weekend.
"I came back after a long period off last year without riding and came back to have a great result here. Jorge was too fast for us last year and was very strong the year before and he is going to be very hard to beat.”
Stoner is still fighting for second place in the championship and is looking to pile more pressure on Honda rival Dani Pedrosa.
Stoner’s stunning resurgence came at a shocking time for Pedrosa, who has missed the last three races with the broken left collarbone he damaged in Japan.
The pair are now split by 23-points but Stoner is only eight points clear of Rossi in fourth.
He added: “The focus for me is to try and keep third position. There have been too many mistakes this season and third place should have been wrapped up.
"It seems everybody has made mistakes or had things happen to them except for Jorge who has stayed perfectly strong and hasn't made any mistakes.”