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Leitner: ‘We never lost confidence in Dani’

Leitner: ‘We never lost confidence in Dani’

Repsol Honda’s Mike Leitner, crew chief to Dani Pedrosa, says he never lost confidence in his rider during a year-long period without a win.

When Dani Pedrosa crossed the line in first place at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, 0.344s ahead of World Champion Valentino Rossi, it was the Spanish rider’s first victory in more than 12 months, and brought to an end a year of difficulties and troubles.

During that period Pedrosa crashed out of the race lead at Sachsenring damaging his hand, injured his leg with another crash in the race at Phillip Island, hurt himself in preseason testing at Qatar, hurt his hip and suffered another DNF at Mugello and then crashed out again at Assen.

It has been a rollercoaster ride of intermittent podium appearances, visits to the surgeon’s table, long periods of physio and rehabilitation from injuries and a distinct lack of practice time.

Nonetheless, one of the people closest to Pedrosa in a tight circle of trusted assistants is the Repsol Honda rider’s crew chief Mike Leitner – who insists that the team of individuals closest to the 23 year-old never doubted him during the difficult period which ultimately came to a happy conclusion last weekend.

“The close group around him never lost confidence in him,” Leitner told “Sure people outside think, ‘what’s going on?’, because they don’t know how bad the damage is to the rider. I mean in Mugello and Barcelona he was really suffering and the Assen race was an extra blow, so it shows this Laguna result was very good.”

Asked also about the team’s faith in their RC212V race prototype, Leitner commented, “A race bike is never at 100%, this is clear, but at least you can win a race with this bike. That is a good sign. But everyone knows that at each racetrack we have the same situation, we have to find the best setting and to improve the bike because the other manufacturers are very strong.”

MotoGP, 2009, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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