Despite the return of Valentino Rossi to Yamaha and the debut of Marc Marquez at Honda, Tech 3 Yamaha team leader Cal Crutchlow thinks there will be no change among the top two riders in MotoGP in 2013.
MotoGP will continue to revolve around a Lorenzo-Pedrosa axis of speed, Crutchlow said.
"The top two will be Jorge (Lorenzo) and Dani Pedrosa again, without a shadow of a doubt," Crutchlow said to British media. "They will be there week in and week out.
"I expect Marquez and Stefan Bradl to be there, and Rossi will be among the top three a lot. I hope to be challenging the top guys when I can. Hopefully we can do the all-British team justice. But I've proven my speed, and if I can improve again like last season and make that jump again, I can be even nearer to the front. I look forward to the challenge."
But Crutchlow admitted his chances of scoring podiums or even victories could depend on which M1 Yamaha decides to drop into the Tech 3 garages.
It was widely believed the factory and satellite Yamaha bikes were closer than ever last year, which led to Andrea Dovizioso and Crutchlow finishing fourth and seventh, respectively, in the standings.
But some think Yamaha will dial down the performance potential of the Tech 3 bikes so prodigal son Rossi has a better chance of success, without the Crossed Tuning Forks satellite team nipping at The Doctor's boots or finishing ahead of him.
"I really don't know what equipment our team will get this year," Crutchlow said. "The championship is definitely going to be tougher. But hopefully I can be consistent and get a few podiums. That's the plan."