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Pedrosa reflects on record season

Pedrosa reflects on record season

Pedrosa reflects on record season

Dani Pedrosa raced to a calculated fourth place at the Cinzano Australian Grand Prix to claim the 250cc World Championship. At the age of nineteen years, and 18 days old Pedrosa is the youngest ever 250cc World Champion, taking the record from 2002 Champion Marco Melandri.

Having taken the 125 title last year, Pedrosa is also the first rider to win in the 125cc and then the 250cc Championship in consecutive years since Carlo Ubbiali in 1960.

"For me this is a dream, but the reality is I'm the one who accomplished this, but to have been able to do so I have to think of all the people in the dark corners," said an ecstatic Pedrosa at the post-race press conference.

"People who helped me in very difficult moments and all the people in who helped me in racing, MoviStar and Honda, my team. We have all accomplished this. Of course all the people at the rehabilitation centre in Barcelona. The doctors, physiotherapists, a lot of people however small their contribution, they all played an important part. I thank them all.

"Of course I wanted to win the race, it would have been the ideal way to win the championship. That's what I tried to do but with the crash yesterday and the problem in the warm up then the wind late in the race I lost a little confidence and let Poggiali pass me to make sure I took the title.

"I was just trying to finish the race. When I crossed the line everybody was cheering and I started to shout inside my helmet. Then I looked for the people with the Spanish flag and the champion t-shirt but I didn't know which corner they were at - then I saw my friend Marcelo Carbone waiting for me and everything was OK."

Pedrosa won the title in fairytale fashion at the circuit where just twelve months ago he crashed and broke both ankles - injuries which took five months to heal and badly hampered his preparations for his 250cc campaign. In fact Dani did not test his championship winning Honda RS250R-W until three weeks before the opening race of the season.

"After five months without racing I found very difficult to get used to racing people again. All winter I was thinking about coming back. Many people said I couldn't change to 250's, I wouldn't be able to do it.

"Over the winter I became so determined to prove them that I could. That was another reason why I was so happy with the win in South Africa. I didn't say anything to them at the time, I just kept it in my mind."

With this victory, he became the youngest ever rider to win a 250cc Grand Prix. It was also the first time that a reigning 125cc World Champion had won the opening round of the 250cc season in over three decades.

"I was surprised how quick I was," he said. "In the winter Alberto (Puig) told me it would turn out like it has - I would be fast in the opening races. He said a good rider has the power to show what he has to offer in the 250cc class. In 125cc racing all the top riders are so close but in the 250cc class you can really see the difference."

The debut race brought about huge expectations on the run up to the second round, his home Grand Prix at Jerez, particularly from the Spanish media. However he was to disappoint them, and himself at Jerez when he crashed on surface water caused by torrential rain, while holding third position.

"In reality I crashed because we had problems in qualifying which prevented us from getting the best out of the bike. I wanted to hold my position because it was my best ever rain race. After that I said to myself, 'No more race crashes' this season."

Pedrosa has been true to himself. He won next time out, at Le Mans in France, and then put to together a run of eight consecutive podium place finishes, including two victories, to take control of the championship victories, on his way to taking the title at Phillip Island.

The only blots on his record have been a two fourth place finishes – the first at Estoril, where he suffered a slow puncture that ended his late race charge, and the second at Phillip Island when an electrical problem with his number one machine in the morning warm-up forced him to use his reserve machine for the race. In between the two fourth place finishes Dani raced to victory at Motegi, second place at Qatar, and another win at Sepang.

Pedrosa has ridden his 250cc debut season with a calm and calculated approach, taking the maximum from each race without unnecessary risks and racking up points while his more experienced rivals often threw caution to the wind in a bid for a single win.

"I knew I had to be consistent, in all the races, always take the most points possible from a race. We have won races, taken podium places and I have profited from the mistakes of other riders. Sure we have made mistakes like others but the secret has been not only to take as much from the race as possible but also from qualifying."

The new 250cc World Champion is quick to share the credit for his title win. "The team is very important," he concludes. "If your mechanics love you they will die for you and I have a very good team around me. I give them 100% and they give me 100% in return. I never feel I am alone in this and I get the very best from them."

250cc, 2004, CINZANO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Dani Pedrosa

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