MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa puts the pressure on Jorge Lorenzo
Japanese Grand Prix
- Venue: Twin Ring circuit, Motegi
- Saturday 13 October: Qualifying: 04:55-08:05, Red Button
- Sunday 14 October: Moto2 & 3 races: 02:55-05:05, Red Button; MotoGP race on BBC2 05:30-07:00 and BBC Sport website. Repeated BBC2 12:30-14:00.
With Jorge Lorenzo holding a 33-point lead at the top of the MotoGP standings with just four races left, the pressure will really be wound up in Japan this weekend.
On the face of it, he is a huge favourite to win his second world title. He has not finished out of the top two in a race all season, and if he keeps that up the championship is his.
But pressure can do funny things to a sportsman. America's Ryder Cup golfers can tell you that.
- Jorge Lorenzo - 290 points
- Dani Pedrosa - 257 points
- Casey Stoner - 186 points
- Andrea Dovizioso - 179 points
- Cal Crutchlow - 135 points
Dani Pedrosa may be back in second in the standings but truthfully he is in stunning form. He will take an awful lot of beating this weekend, he is on a roll.
I can't imagine that Jorge isn't nervous, and as long as it is possible for Pedrosa to still win it, he will fight for it.
Maybe that's my optimism talking as I'd love to go to the last race in Valencia with the title still to be decided - but until it is won, it is all to play for.
We seem to be forever talking about Casey Stoner but he is back from injury this weekend and it will be very interesting to see how he gets on.
He could play a huge part in deciding this title, and I can't see him not being on the podium. He could be the fly in the ointment for Lorenzo and Yamaha, and he can help his Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa out massively.
Lorenzo has said that attack is the best form of defence and he will go out there to win. But the faster you go the more you increase your chances of crashing out, which would be disastrous for him. Pedrosa and Stoner have nothing to lose.
How the title race could change
If Dani Pedrosa won all four remaining races and Jorge Lorenzo could finish no better than third in each, the final standings would be:
- Dani Pedrosa: 357 points
- Jorge Lorenzo: 354 points
Stoner has said he is looking forward to coming back and seeing his team this weekend - which is strange given that he is walking away from the sport at the end of the season because he has had enough of it.
I've never seen Stoner not race to win. These are the last four races we can see Stoner race. Don't miss it.
Away from the track, I'm quite excited about the organisers of MotoGP taking over World Superbikes.
We were starting to get a grey area between the two formats and this gets rid of that and gives the organisers the chance to bring down the cost of MotoGP.
It won't detract from the racing in either class and means more teams can afford to compete. That can only be good news.
Steve's Motegi predictions:
1. Dani Pedrosa 2. Casey Stoner 3. Jorge Lorenzo
Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Tom Rostance