Valentino Rossi says he is confident of his chances heading into the Catalunya Grand Prix as looks to cling onto his dwindling MotoGP World Championship lead in the face of opposition from form man Jorge Lorenzo, as well as rivals Honda and Ducati.

Having led the standings from the opening round, the two-wheel legend has been the measure of consistency on the Yamaha this season and is yet to finish off the podium, but a trio of wins for team-mate Lorenzo has reduced the margin between them to six points.

Furthermore, Rossi says the competition overall heading to the Barcelona race is fiercer than ever, with Ducati proving increasingly quick in race trim, while Honda remains a threat despite a run of disappointing form for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

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Despite this, Rossi is looking forward to the Catalunya GP, insisting there is still more speed to be extracted from the M1.

"I think Catalunya GP will be another good race, it seems that all races are great this year," he said. "The three main manufacturers are more or less at the same level and at every race you can expect everything. I love Barcelona, this is one of my favourite tracks. It's always difficult to go fast in that track but last year I rode one of my best races and this year I'm in good shape.

"We have to improve a few little things. We have to be better at finding the right set up for the bike and we have to be faster so we can start the race from a better position.

"The YZR-M1 is going really well, we are first and second in the championship and the last few races of Jorge proved the bikes' competitiveness. We are close and we will work strongly to make it a nice weekend in Barcelona."

Beyond Lorenzo, Rossi holds a lead of 35 points over third place Andrea Dovizioso, while Marquez is now 49 points adrift.

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SoSlo: ducati - extra fuel, 12 engines (vs. 5 for honda and yamaha), open development (no dev for honda and yamaha)... is that really "even"?

guys, Ducati have been in MotoGP for OVER TEN YEARS !!! AND THEY HAVE ALREADY WON A CHAMPIONSHIP... WHY DO THEY GET CONCESSIONS? because now they can't build a winner? because they're slow? because they suck?

WTF !? After Rainey, Yamaha didn't win a title for SEVENTEEN YEARS !! did they cry for more lenient rules? Guys we haven't won in a loooong time, can we use more fuel than Honda so we can win? NO! that would be stupid!!!! Instead, Yamaha worked hard, suffered, and eventually signed a certain italian who then gave them some well-earned titles. they singed a young JL (the first 250 champ that DIDNT go to honda) and pushed even more.

until ducati compete on the same level as the japanese LIKE THEY DID IN 2007 WHEN THEY WON THE TITLE, they lack any dignity in the paddock

congrats to Honda and Yamaha for consistently beat