Marc Marquez admits the MotoGP championship could go either way after Andrea Dovizioso moved within 11 points of the Spaniard with victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.
A thrilling race at Motegi saw the title rivals battle for the win on Sunday, with Dovizioso landing the decisive move in the final sector of the last lap to take the chequered flag.
It cuts Marquez's lead at the top of the standings with just three races to go, and the three-time world champion expects an exciting climax to the 2017 campaign.
"I don't know who will win this championship but it is amazing to fight like we did today in rainy conditions," said the Repsol Honda rider.
"For me, second place is OK because we are in front of the championship but I took a lot of risks and we knew before this race that it will be difficult because here, Ducati and also Dovizioso are very fast here every year.
"Now we are past Motegi, which is one of the circuits that in some years I struggled a lot, but now we go to other race tracks that normally I enjoy more.
"The championship is very close and I heard some people say it was almost done, but it was 16 points and now it is 11 and this is really tough to win.
"Dovi also is very consistent, very fast, and in rainy conditions he is also very strong; so Australia, Malaysia, Valencia can be rain conditions also but the most important is that in each conditions, we are there. We will try to manage in the best way."
Dovizioso was delighted to have claimed a fifth race win of the season as he finally contests a championship battle – the Italian having finished no higher than fifth since moving to Ducati in 2013.
"Today we didn't think about the championship because our speed was amazing, the battle was on the limit, so this is the nice things of this sport and our mentality today," he said.
"I'm really happy in the way we approached the race. We managed the race and we were very concentrated and focused.
"It was so exciting to win this race and it was so important for the championship. We know it is very difficult to beat him in the championship but like I said on Thursday, we will try until the end."