With Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner tied at the top after six rounds, the fight for the 2009 MotoGP World Championship effectively starts from scratch this weekend at Assen.

The three-way tie was created by Rossi's last turn victory over Fiat Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo last time out in Catalunya, when Stoner finished third for Ducati. It also meant that all three have won two races so far this season.

A test session the day after the race helped Lorenzo shake off the disappointment of defeat and he is now targeting his sixth podium of the year at Assen on Saturday.

The only time Lorenzo hasn't finished on the podium is when he crashed out while chasing down Stoner for third in the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix.

"I could never have imagined after the crash in Jerez that I would have the opportunity to become leader again so quickly, but here we are at the front with Casey and Valentino!" said Lorenzo, who has started just 23 MotoGP races, compared with 156 for Rossi and 58 for Stoner.

"The last three races have been fantastic and almost unbelievable, and now for the three of us it's almost like we're starting the championship all over again.

"Assen is my favourite track and I am going there feeling very confident in my bike and my Bridgestone tyres and with all the team feeling very motivated.

"Last year I was sixth so the most important thing is to improve on that, but of course I am aiming for another podium, because consistency is the way to remain close to the top of the standings.

"We had a positive test in Barcelona and now I will hope to show our improvements with an even better performance in Holland," Lorenzo concluded.

"We're approaching Assen on a roll and following a useful day's testing in Barcelona," added team manager Daniele Romagnoli. "The Barcelona race there was fantastic and we were able to make more progress on the Monday in order to improve our setting further for the next five weeks, which will be very intense."

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