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Pedrosa returns home to hero's welcome

Pedrosa returns home to hero's welcome

Pedrosa returns home to hero's welcome

Dani Pedrosa was given a hero's welcome on his return to Spain on Tuesday after the gruelling 28-hour journey from Australia. The El Prat airport in Barcelona was a sea of blue as the new 250cc World Champion was honoured by around 500 fans and 100 journalists, the majority of them decked out in the colours of his Telefonica Movistar Honda team.

The scenes were in stark contrast to one year ago, when Pedrosa returned home as the 125cc World Champion in a wheelchair after breaking both of his ankles at Phillip Island and was taken straight to a local hospital.

"It's a lot different this year because last season I couldn't celebrate anything," said a clearly emotional Pedrosa.

"We always said that the first thing was for us to learn, and that anything else was a mistake. I started winning races but I kept my mind on the fact that I just had to learn, and that kept us at the top." Pedrosa will stay in the 250cc class to defend his title next season but yesterday commented that he was "looking forward to testing the Honda MotoGP bike" amid rumours that he will get his first taste of the RC211V in a private test at Valencia in November.

"Right now all I want to do is enjoy this moment with my family, because I want to tell them all what it was like for me in Australia and find out what it was like for them here," added Pedrosa before breaking into tears.

From the airport, the convoy headed to Pedrosa's home town of Castellar del Vallès, with the rider and his family arriving in an open-topped bus to an official reception at the Town Hall. "We knew the people would be out to welcome Dani and we are really happy," said local Mayor, Montse Gatell.

Outside around 1,500 motorcyclists, who had witnessed Pedrosa's title-winning ride in Australia on a big screen in the town centre, performed burn-outs and chanted for the their hero in jubilant scenes as the party went on long into the night.

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

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