Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo has backed championship leader Marc Marquez to dominate MotoGP in years to come.
Marquez will win the title on Sunday at Phillip Island if he betters Lorenzo’s result by eight points, and the Yamaha rider believes it could be the first of many.
"He will not only be world champion this year but maybe for many years,” Lorenzo told the official MotoGP website. “He is talented, fast, ambitious and brave."
The 20-year-old has produced a remarkable debut season, winning six races and only missing out on the podium once - at Mugello - after a crash.
Despite frustrating him all season long with aggressive “on-the-edge” racing, Lorenzo was quick to pay credit to his compatriot.
"We have been watching one of the most incredible riders that has come into a new category in history,” said the champion.
"Obviously you need to have all the cards in your hands and he has this with a very good team, bike and sponsor. The tyres are easier than before and everything together makes him so competitive.
"It is because he is a phenomenon, but he also has the best tools he can have."
With a maximum 75 points still up for grabs, the championship looks Marquez’ to lose.
The Repsol Honda rider would become the first rookie to win the premier class since Kenny Roberts in 1978, and he agreed the season has surpassed any expectations.
“I didn't expect to be this strong to be honest. In my best dreams it was impossible to think that," he told MotoGP.com.
"I expected to be competitive and in my best dreams it was to try and be third."