The bookmakers have Valentino Rossi down as a favorite to win his seventh premier class title.
Following two preseason tests thus far in 2009 and ahead of next week’s MotoGP Official Test at Jerez, the bookmakers have marked the reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi out as the clear title favourite.
The 2007 MotoGP title winner Casey Stoner is sure to have plenty to say about that and with many bookies only offering ‘odds-on’ (e.g. 4/5) or ‘evens’ (1/1) prices to punters on Rossi retaining the premier class crown, there may be a temptation to look beyond the Italian for a good bet.
Nonetheless, given his strong preseason form, his brilliant 2008 campaign and his continued determination to break records and dominate in MotoGP the current odds of close to 2/1 for a Rossi title win with bwin.com should spark some interest.
Stoner of course had a complex wrist operation over the winter and is yet to complete a full race simulation since the surgery, but he has set the fastest times at both MotoGP tests so far this year. Those factors taken into account, bwin.com offer a decent price of 3/1 on the Ducati Marlboro man to win the title, whilst several other oddsmakers have him down as a 2/1 second favourite.
Interestingly there are similar odds being offered by most bookies on the injured Dani Pedrosa and Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo.
Given his serious injuries sustained in Qatar Pedrosa has certainly suffered a major blow in his own preseason preparations. The Repsol Honda rider was briefly the World Championship leader until his costly Sachsenring crash last year, but eventually finished a distant third in the standings, although he certainly has talent to push for the title again. Even though he could miss the start of the season, bwin.com still have Pedrosa at 8/1 as third favourite, slightly ‘ahead’ of Lorenzo at 9/1.
Pedrosa’s fiery young compatriot Lorenzo will be doing everything he can to finish ahead of his Spanish rival in the final standings. He certainly looked to have come good on the last day of testing in Qatar, but can he find the consistency to overcome the more experienced men around him in the 2009 MotoGP field?
Elsewhere, in addition to the ‘big four’, the likes of Repsol Honda newcomer Andrea Dovizioso (around 16/1), 2006 World Champion and Ducati newboy Nicky Hayden (from 20/1) and Rizla Suzuki colleagues Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen on the improved GSV-R (both around 50/1), may also attract fans looking for an outside bet.