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Pedrosa's unexpected podium finish

Pedrosa's unexpected podium finish

Considering his problems in the build-up to the weekend's historic first ever night-time MotoGP race, Dani Pedrosa's third place finish at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar was an unexpected success for the Repsol Honda team and came as a result of a remarkable performance from the 22 year-old Catalan rider.

Considering his problems in the build-up to the weekend's historic first ever night-time MotoGP race, Dani Pedrosa's third place finish at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar was an unexpected success for the Repsol Honda team and came as a result of a remarkable performance from the 22 year-old Catalan rider.

Pedrosa's preseason has been complicated to say the least, due to the broken bone in his right hand caused by an accident in testing in Malaysia towards the end of January and the slow development of the new 2008 RC212V.

His preparation for Sunday night's thrilling premier class contest was not helped by a spectacular crash into Valentino Rossi's Fiat Yamaha M1 in free practice on Friday, which aggravated his lingering hand injury.

Furthermore, after qualifying in eighth position on the grid the pressure was well and truly on, but Pedrosa made a flying start right from the off and was even leading the race before World Champions Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo got in front and secured the two top rostrum spots.

Pedrosa's race pace was sensational, finding a 1'56 rhythm, when he had been consistently practicing at 1'58 and was one of the slowest riders on the timesheet during the previous weekend's test visit.

"The result was unbelievable, we didn't expect this, so I'm very happy," said an understandably delighted Pedrosa. "Seven days ago I was almost last in the tests here but my team have worked really hard, bringing both 2007 and 2008 bikes here and making many changes, they've been fantastic. For the first time I understand the meaning and the legend of HRC and I'm so proud to be part of this."

"They gave me a competitive bike, the Michelin tyres worked really well and I did my best on track but without them I wouldn't have been able to make it," he continued.

"My hand was quite bad from the middle of the race to the end, I couldn't brake perfectly because my hand was shaking all the time, but I was able to finish the race and this is the most important thing because the hand should be in better condition at the next race."

Meanwhile, Mike Leitner, Pedrosa's Crew Chief, expressed his satisfaction with the team's work, saying: "We are really happy with the job we've done over the last week, because in the test we were nowhere. We did a big job, all the mechanics were working like crazy and trying to think about what we could do better, because we missed a lot of testing in the winter time."

"Now with this result I think the motivation for everybody is very high and we will be looking stronger in the future."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Commercialbank GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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