Valentino Rossi says he is ready to fight until the final race of the MotoGP season against Jorge Lorenzo, who he admits is riding “close to perfection.”
After building up an advantage of 23 points in the previous two rounds at Silverstone and Misano, Rossi saw his cushion over Yamaha teammate Lorenzo shrink to just 14 points at Aragon as the Spaniard took an untroubled sixth win of the season.
While Rossi praised his arch-rival’s “perfect” performance on Sunday, he says he is prepared for what promises to be an enthralling battle in the remaining four races.
“14 [points] is a small, small number, so I think it will be very, very tough,” admitted the seven-time premier class champion.
“Considering the difference in points, I always say after four or five races that the championship will go down to Valencia, and I hope to be there [in contention].
“We are strong, we are competitive. We have all the cards to fight for the championship until the last race.
“The battle this year between me and Jorge is very tough, and Jorge rides fantastic, he’s very close to perfection, so it will be hard.”
Analysis: Could Marquez be Rossi's saving grace?
After finishing behind Dani Pedrosa at Aragon, things might appear bleak for Rossi’s title prospects unless the weather gods play havoc in the last four races.
But one man who could prove to be the championship leader’s saving grace is Marc Marquez as he seems the most likely to prevent Lorenzo romping to more victories.
The Repsol Honda rider had been looking a strong bet for the win at Aragon, beating Lorenzo to pole and showing ominous pace in warm-up on Sunday morning, before suffering yet another crash while shadowing Lorenzo on lap two.
Were Marquez to hypothetically win all four remaining races, it would certainly make Rossi’s life easier, as the Italian could afford to come third behind Lorenzo at each race bar one and still win the title.
|18 October||Phillip Island|
As for the one where he would have to beat Lorenzo, Phillip Island has traditionally proved a happy stomping ground for Rossi, while his record at Sepang is very strong too.
On the other hand, were Marquez to routinely split the Yamahas, with Lorenzo winning and Rossi coming third, the latter would quickly see his advantage eroded.
Marquez – not to mention the second works Honda of Dani Pedrosa, who proved he can still be a thorn in Rossi’s side at Aragon - therefore can be expected to play a pivotal role in deciding who comes out on top in this most thrilling of title contests.