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By Repsol Honda Team

Pedrosa on the podium: "I knew I had the pace"

'Baby Samurai' moves up to second in the standings after slicing through the field in France

Saturday at Le Mans built a mountain in front of Spanish GP winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), and the three-time World Champion even almost lost sleep on how he was going to get through to the front from thirteenth on the grid - with the first challenge of the first chicane enough of a hurdle in itself.

Off the line however, the 'Baby Samurai' navigated his way through to perfection to end the first lap in P7, then getting his head down to starting making up ground to the front. First past Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), next up was a hard pass on Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) before Pedrosa began to reel in teammate Marquez - with the number 93 then sliding out of contention and leaving his teammate to push on after the lead trio.

Pedrosa: "Tyre choice was key"

After last lap drama up ahead then saw Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) slide out, Pedrosa had pulled it off - Q1 to the podium, making up an incredible 10 places. And as the dust settles, that makes the Repsol Honda rider second in the standings - behind only race winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).

Dani Pedrosa, P3: “It was truly a very hard situation before the start,  I was thinking all night how to make it through the first chicane because it’s so tight and when you’re back in the pack it’s so hard to not touch someone or make a mistake then. Then the race stretches out so much it’s so hard to make up ground later, even if you’re fast. I knew I had pace from yesterday so that kept me confident but at the same time I knew I had to get through. I was really focused and made some good clean chicanes, the start was good then I overtook more riders. At the end of the first lap I wasn’t as far off the front group as I expected so then I just focused on the pace. It was tough behind Dovizioso because he was riding well and he was so fast out of corners and good in braking. And the pass with Cal was on the limit, he made a little mistake and I went through but then he closed the door recovering his line and we hit together…fortunately nobody crashed, it wasn’t my intention to touch him. Then I gained on Marc, then on the last laps I struggled more with some chatter there in fourth and couldn’t really gain ground. It was a nice gift at the end. It’s an amazing feeling to be on the podium today after starting 13th - it was a big relief just to get through the first chicane!”