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Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) had a very difficult Japanese GP after the conditions worsened on race day, having struggled in FP1 as well before moving well up the timesheets throughout the rest of the weekend. The ‘Little Samurai’ - Motegi’s most successful rider – found no feeling with the rear tyre from the start, with the situation then getting worse:
“It was a very difficult day and I'm really disappointed as there was a great opportunity to have a nice race. We improved so much during the free practice sessions, from FP1 to Saturday, but it isn’t clear what happened with the rear tyre in the race. Unfortunately I had a terrible feeling with the rear and there was no way I could go fast,” explained the Spaniard. “At mid-point it started to spin so crazy in a straight line. I tried to manage the throttle control and go slower but lap by lap it was getting a lot worse. I started to drop my pace and then positions, a few laps later it was also in entry, in a straight line, shifting down the gears...I was completely sideways and had no control.”
Pedrosa - previously a winner in the wet - decided to pull in at that point, believing the risk to be too big.
“Once I was out of the points there was no meaning to continuing because I was about to crash,” said the three-time World Champion. “So I stopped and we checked the tyre…it was a bit broken in the center, so we’re waiting to see what happened. With so much water on track I didn’t expect to have problems with the extra soft rear tyre and Petrucci used the same one and he ended up on the podium. We will study the data together with Michelin and try to avoid it from happening again.”
At the next venue, Pedrosa will be hoping for better weather to avoid risking a repeat – and aims to get another top points finish to add to his season tally; now two ahead of Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in fifth and 33 behind Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in third. First it was a pit stop in Indonesia for the Repsol Honda Team, before touchdown at Phillip Island.