Jorge Lorenzo will take a 23-point title lead over Dani Pedrosa and 32-point advantage over Casey Stoner into this weekend's Indianapolis MotoGP, the first event after the summer break and first of eight remaining 2012 rounds.
Lorenzo finished first (five times) or second (four times) in the nine races he finished leading up to the summer break, allowing him to more than overcome his unfortunate Assen DNF.
But the dual Repsol threat remains, with reigning champion Stoner returning to form with victory at Laguna Seca, while Pedrosa is putting up his most sustained title challenge to date.
Victory will be hard to predict this weekend, but Yamaha star Lorenzo has an enviable record at the infield circuit, with three rostrums - including one win - from his previous Indy appearances.
“I really enjoy riding the Indy track, and have good memories here from my podiums in 2008 and 2010 and my great win in 2009,” he said.
“Last year [fourth place] I really struggled with grip in the race so I hope we can improve that this year. I've had a nice break but also been training to make sure I'm fit for this weekend!”
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg is excited to see what the new M1 can do at the legendary American circuit, as Lorenzo seeks to extend his lead back above the one-race mark.
“We had some problems with grip in the race last year but we've moved forward since then so I'm hoping this won't be an issue this year,” said Zeelenberg.
“It's again the first time we've been here with the 1000 so it's pretty exciting. Jorge likes the track and goes well here so let's see if we can increase our lead in the Championship again!”
Indianapolis will be the first event since Valentino Rossi was announced as returning to Yamaha, alongside Lorenzo, for 2013.