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Pedrosa reflects on title-winning race

Pedrosa reflects on title-winning race

Pedrosa reflects on title-winning race

Daniel Pedrosa became 250cc champion at Phillip Island for the second consecutive season to seal his third straight title in just five seasons as a World Championship rider. This latest success makes the Movistar Honda rider the youngest triple-World Champion in history - having recently celebrated his 20th birthday - and the first rider to successfully defend the quarter-litre title since Max Biaggi back in 1997.

Pedrosa, who also handed Honda their 600th Grand Prix victory, confirmed his status as the number one rider in the category and completed his objective of successfully defending his number one plate - an opportunity denied him in 2003 when he stepped up from the 125cc category.

Alberto Puig's protégé has also become the most successful teenage rider ever, and has surpassed Àlex Crivillé's total of career wins and is now the third most successful Spanish rider in history behind Ángel Nieto and Jorge Martínez Aspar.

Going into last weekend's Polini Australian Grand Prix, Pedrosa seemed to have little hope of clinching the championship at Phillip Island. Title rival Casey Stoner was the man in form and was eager to shine at his home Grand Prix after taking back-to-back wins in Malaysia and Qatar. To claim a second straight world crown, Pedrosa needed to win the race and see Stoner not score more than a single point... however, despite the odds appearing to be stacked against him, the Spaniard insists he always remained confident.

"We've always believed in our chances, although many others did not," said Pedrosa. "Not many people expected it, only us, and that says a lot about what is happening around us. Many things have been said in these last few days, both in the media and by my rivals as well. But we focused on working hard and not doing strange things. When you focus the results will come. What's more, it was here, on this track, and it was very satisfying."

"I haven't been worried at any time, although after Qatar I really thought that the championship was getting more and more complicated, because my recovery from injury was very slow," he explained. "I hadn't improved in three weeks and I didn't know how long it would take. There were two weeks left before the Australian Grand Prix, which has always proved difficult for me, and I didn't know what was going to happen. The practice sessions were rather average, but on Sunday morning I woke up with my mind made up to win the race. I knew that everything would be different to Friday or Saturday, and so it proved."

"For the race, the plan was simple: first of all to make a good start and then assess the situation. Stoner crashed at an early stage and De Angelis hit him. Although he managed to avoid crashing, the bike was damaged so there were two fewer rivals for me. Lorenzo, Porto and I, who were lapping further back, saw it and were able to avoid them. Porto was lapping very fast, so I decided to follow him and we opened a considerable gap leaving the rest behind. From then on I began to study him. I didn't try anything and I think it became a rather calm race for both of us. I stayed behind him because he had a better pace than me. Porto was very fast in the corners, but my bike was working very well too, so I thought about getting in his slipstream at the end of the race. If I managed to overtake him, it would be great, but if I didn't, second wouldn't have been bad either - there was no need to take any unnecessary risks. Scared of not getting into his slipstream well, I made a small mistake at the last corner. I knew that if I could stick to him exiting the corner I could overtake him, but I stuck too much and had to get out of his slipstream earlier than expected. It was the first time in the race that I crossed the finish line out of his slipstream and I noticed that the bike wasn't as fast as I thought. Fortunately, and with the inertia, I had I was able to overtake him by some thousands of a second."

Having snatched victory in a photo-finish, it took Pedrosa a few seconds to realise his achievement.
"Well... Oh my God, I couldn't believe it! It's Australia with all the memories it brings back to me, and personally the most difficult circuit of the whole championship. I crossed the finish line and I wasn't conscious of the fact that I had won the title until the first corner. It was then when I started to cry out of happiness and excitement, it was normal after so much suffering on the bike, in the garage, and without being able to ride well over these last few weeks."

250cc, 2005, POLINI AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Dani Pedrosa

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