Jorge Lorenzo is refusing to write off team-mate Valentino Rossi's chances of winning the MotoGP World Championship against the odds at Valencia on Sunday.
Lorenzo qualified on pole with a dominant performance while Rossi will have to start the race from the back of the grid, yet the Majorcan plus front row qualifiers Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa say nothing is guaranteed, despite the Italian's hugely challenging grid position.
Rossi still holds an advantage of seven points at the top of the standings heading into the last race of 2015 and Lorenzo admits anything can happen in Sunday's season climax at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
“Yes, for sure [Rossi can win title] – he has seven points of an advantage and the race has to be run, so if tomorrow for some reasons if I cannot finish, Valentino is the champion,” said Lorenzo.
“In motorcycle racing anything can happen and especially in MotoGP and for sure asfor me it is not so simple, because I have to finish first or second to be more or less sure that I can win the championship because for Valentino it will be very difficult to arrive better than the fourth position, but not impossible.
“So it's important to be fast, to be quick, to be consistent and don't make mistakes.”
Marquez, who crashed out of the penultimate race at Sepang in Malaysia after he was forced wide by Rossi and contact was made between the pair, also dismissed the outcome as far from a foregone conclusion.
“For me, I believe that in MotoGP in a few laps you can be there in front and some races already, Valentino start from tenth and eighth and three laps, four laps, he is already behind the first riders, so he will be there,” said Marquez.
Meanwhile, Pedrosa feels Rossi's cushion of seven points could be a factor in the title decider.
“I think we can expect tomorrow anything because the championship anyway has some different options and like Jorge say, he has to do a good race and finish it,” said the 30-year-old.
“Valentino can do a good recovery and he is quick also, so I think also he still has seven points in front so this also counts.”