Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo is on target to regain the MotoGP world championship from outgoing titleholder Casey Stoner.
And Lorenzo is poised to claim his second world crown at Stoner’s home race, the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island next month.
With Stoner still recuperating following ankle surgery, the title race is now an all-Spanish affair between Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
In his final season of MotoGP, Stoner is hoping to be fit for his farewell race at the Island as Lorenzo and Pedrosa chase the title.
Lorenzo is the clear title favourite according to acclaimed crew chief, South Australian Jeremy Burgess, who has helped guide Valentino Rossi to seven world titles.
“The title is now definitely in favour of Jorge but I’m sure it will still be a great battle against Dani,” Burgess said.
“With five races to go and Casey out injured it is between these two guys.”
Going into Sunday’s Aragon GP in Spain, Lorenzo leads Pedrosa by 38 points with five races remaining.
If Lorenzo is ahead by 25 points, or more, after the Island GP in four weeks he will be declared champion in advance of the final event in Valencia.
Lorenzo extended his margin to 38 points after his win in last week’s San Marino GP in which Pedrosa crashed on the first lap.
But Lorenzo, the 2010 world champion, is aiming to add to his six wins from 13 races as the title fight heads towards a Phillip Island decider.
Pedrosa has won three races.
“The points gap now is a more realistic reflection of the championship so far,” said Lorenzo of his battle against Pedrosa.
“With 38 points I can be a little bit more calm, but it is still not enough. I must push and try to keep winning.”
If Lorenzo wins just one of the next four events in Spain, Japan, Malaysia and Australia he is virtually assured of the title.