Jorge Lorenzo thinks he will be consistent top three threat in this year's MotoGP title battle as he gets ready for his second season in the motorcycling top flight.
Lorenzo made an immediate impact on his category debut with the Fiat Yamaha team last season, scoring a win in only his third race at Estoril, while he also briefly led the championship standings.
Although a series of injuries and misfortune would see his season tail off for an eventual fourth place finish overall – 183 points behind title winning team-mate Valentino Rossi -, Lorenzo has been tipped to provide a sterner challenge in 2009.
Speaking ahead of the final pre-season test of the year in Jerez, although Lorenzo has struggled somewhat with his switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres, he believes he will win races and be a contender for the top three overall this season.
“If I can stay injury-free and don't have bad luck, and if the bike goes well, then I can aspire to win races this season – more than just the one,” he told the MotoGP website. “We have to have the mentality of always trying to improve upon the results of the previous season, and it would be ideal to finish higher than fourth in the standings.
“The press have Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa as the favourites, and I think that they should be looking at the title. They have ridden in more campaigns than I have and finished ahead of me last year, so they have the most possibility of taking the crown.”