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HRC sees all-star Spanish line-up restored

HRC sees all-star Spanish line-up restored

Pedrosa may never have won a MotoGP Championship, but he has won immeasurable respect for fighting back from injury after injury...

With nineteen years of experience reporting on MotoGP™ for Motorcycle News, Matthew Birt knows the championship inside-out. For the 2015 season he joins the team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.

Dani Pedrosa has already proven himself to be the master of the MotoGP injury comeback. If you read a back catalogue of the Spaniard’s racing injuries, it’s so long that you’d only get halfway through it on a flight to the moon.

So Pedrosa was treading familiar territory in Le Mans today when he looked relaxed but cautious in advance of another comeback in this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

Pedrosa returning from injury is a routine he’s rehearsed numbers times before.

But this return does have a slightly different feel to it.

Pedrosa has returned before bullish and confident that whatever his traumatised body has been battered with, he was going to return as one of the fastest riders in the World Championship.

The surgery he undertook after encountering a recurrence of severe arm pump problem in the season’s opening round in Qatar though was anything but a routine procedure.

This was risky, invasive and rare surgery, and for a man so accustomed to going under the knife, probably the biggest and most important operation of his career.

Ultimately it was to save his career. Pedrosa was handicapped by the loss of feeling in his right arm in Qatar but still finished sixth.

But for a rider that’s accustomed to fighting for wins and podiums for almost a decade in MotoGP, sixth just doesn’t cut it. Better to stay at home than turn up and perform well below your capabilities appeared to be the message coming from Pedrosa.

It will certainly be a pensive Pedrosa when FP1 gets underway tomorrow morning. He admits it could be months before he truly understands if the arm pump issue has been completely cured.

He has ridden a supermoto bike briefly on tarmac in Spain. But nothing can prepare him for the physical demands of muscling a 260bhp Repsol Honda RC213V around the stop and go Bugatti track.

HRC must be happy to see its all-star Spanish line-up fully restored after a turbulent start to 2015. It has been an uncomfortable few weeks for Pedrosa while going through yet another painstaking recovery process. But his absence has been pretty uncomfortable for Honda too.

Honda management have faced an endless barrage of questions about the prospect of Casey Stoner deputising for an absent Pedrosa. They’ve been continually quizzed about why Pedrosa didn’t undergo surgery earlier, given he was aware of the arm pump issues again during winter testing. An would they have offered him a new two-year had they been aware of the severity of the issue?

Those questions will at least have subsided. Well, until the end of FP1 at least!

Pedrosa may never have won a MotoGP World Championship but he has won immeasurable respect and admiration for continually fighting back from injury after injury.

His World Championship hopes have obviously vanished for another season. Nobody can sit at home for three races and expect to win a battle against riders of the calibre of Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

With Rossi enjoying his best start to a season since 2005, Marquez having to fight tooth and nail to win a third straight title, Lorenzo looking back to his brilliant best in Jerez, and Ducati’s new GP15 instantly competitive, the return of Pedrosa just adds another dimension to what has already been an intriguing 2015 season.

The racing has been gripping without his presence. Throw another top rider into the mix and his involvement in the scrap just makes MotoGP an ever greater spectacle.

Every rider when asked about his return in Le Mans said that if Pedrosa could return to his best form, then there’s no doubt he’ll be a persistent threat at the front.

He might not be a big player in the Championship race, but he could yet have a major part to play.

MotoGP, 2015, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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