Marc Marquez could not have imagined having a 24-point lead in the MotoGP world championship before the start of the season, but is refusing to count out Valentino Rossi.
Repsol Honda rider and two-time world champion Marquez holds a commanding advantage over nearest rival and defending champion Jorge Lorenzo, with Rossi 42 points off the pace in third.
The Spaniard will attempt to take another step towards the title at Sachsenring - where Marquez has never been beaten in the premier class.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix, Marquez said: "Of course, I couldn't imagine this situation, because we struggled a lot in the pre-season.
"At the halfway point of the season leading by 24 points, I couldn't imagine.
"But we're getting better and better, and new items are arriving that we can test in the next races.
"We'll see if we can do another step because at the moment Jorge is the strongest one, the closest one in the championship, he'll be really strong like we saw last year in the second part of the season.
"So we need to take care about him, but don't forget Valentino. He's far [behind], but not far enough. In the last races he was very strong and it will be hard to manage the distance.
"[We must] keep same mentality until now - try to push if we can win, but in the end it's difficult to manage the risk, to finish the races."