Factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo believes Dani Pedrosa will pose a stronger threat in the 2012 MotoGP world championship, which kicks off in Qatar tonight under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights.
But the Spaniard still believes that reigning world champion Casey Stoner poses the biggest challenge to his hopes of reclaiming the premier class crown he won in 2010.
Lorenzo has been in impressive form throughout winter testing on the new 1000cc factory Yamaha YZR-M1, even though dominant Repsol Honda rider Stoner topped the timesheets in all three pre-season sessions in Sepang and Jerez.
Lorenzo, who won three races in 2011, told MCN: “Dani seems closer in the lap times. He has a completely different way of riding the bke compared to Casey. Casey is much more aggressive and he is more confident on the bike and he can improvise more.
"He can change the line and he can slide more on the brakes and in the middle of the corner. Dani is more precise with a completely different style. At this moment I see Casey is stronger but with Dani you never know and you can never rule him out.”
For exclusive coverage from the opening MotoGP round in Qatar, see the April 11 issue of Motor Cycle News.