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Pedrosa: “The top four can change at any moment”

Pedrosa: “The top four can change at any moment”

The Repsol Honda rider has told his plan for the MotoGP test at Sepang, and has also discussed his thoughts ahead of the 2010 season.

Dani Pedrosa begins his preparations for his fifth season in MotoGP on Thursday with the first of two days of testing at the Sepang International Circuit. In December he underwent surgery to remove a screw in his left wrist to improve mobility and reduce pain, and just hours before he takes to the track in Malaysia to work on the RC212V he will ride this season Pedrosa gave his thoughts on the test and the challenges ahead in 2010.

How are you feeling physically, and can you say you’re starting the pre-season in good shape?
Yes. Throughout last season I had problems with my wrist but didn’t say anything. I held out to the end of the season, giving my maximum, but after it finished despite the fact I wasn’t riding a bike and wasn’t putting any pressure on my wrist it was still painful. So I decided it was best to get the screw taken out. The recovery period was two to three weeks and the results until now have been very positive. I have been training, and have done a little motocross. The wrist has responded well despite how recently it was operated on. These few days will be a test on my wrist as well, but from the moment I had the screw removed it has felt better. I feel recovered and ready for this first test.

In the last few years you have suffered injuries in pre-season (Sepang 2008, Qatar 2009) that have affected your condition ahead of the start of the season. This season it is important to use all the test days…
Yes, the priority is to take advantage of all of the days of testing available, because this time around more than ever there are not many days. Therefore these are very important tests and it is vital we avoid making any mistakes and are in good shape for the first race.

What is the plan for this first test?
To continue where we left off in Valencia. We’ll carry on testing the Öhlins suspension which is a big change after so many years with the Showa. We will see how they react with small modifications to the chassis. There is also myself: I’ve not ridden for three months so I need to get back on the bike and find a rhythm, speed and also a physical level.

The electronics will be an important aspect over these two days?
Yes, these are one of the most important aspects of the 800cc bikes and we have to try and configure it in the best possible way. Last year it was one of our weaknesses, especially when braking, and here at this track there is lots of braking so we’ll try to find the best setting for this.

What do you expect to have at the first race in Qatar on April 11 that you don’t have now?
I want the bike to be totally to my liking and to be able to ride it with everything in unison. This gives you great confidence, and is so important.

With the engine limitations that take effect this year (six to be used across the 18 races) reliability will be more important than ever. How do you view this?
I think reliability is a strong point of Honda bikes, which are always competitive and have very few problems. Of course it will be difficult because you also never know what will happen, if you have a crash or something like that. But Honda has a cautious approach and always provides durable engines.

Do you think there will be a change to the ‘four aliens’ this season?
That can change at any time. Evidently last year the level was clear, but the race changed with every Grand Prix. The order was different every weekend. One rider can win one day, another can win on another – the competition is very high. As for the other riders, that will become clear during the season.

What do you think about the fact there are five Spanish riders in the premier class for the first time?
It’s a very high number. If you look back in the past, it’s very hard to find one or two riders. But it’s very positive for us now.

This is your fifth year in the premier class and your contract ends after this campaign. Do you feel there is a special pressure on you in 2010?
I think it is an important year, but it is for everyone. You know at the start of every year it will be close and maybe everyone is a bit nervous, but everyone will be very focused and ready for every race.

What’s the reason for your change back to the number 26?
It’s a mark of gratitude to my fans who have followed me through difficult moments such as the 2008 campaign, and especially 2009. I’ve done it for them, I know they like it, and they know my number and can follow me.

But you hope to change it for the number 1?
Even in the best scenario, I wouldn’t change it! I’m not sure, but first I have to earn it.

MotoGP, 2010, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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