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Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) took his third pole of the year at Sepang, and the Little Samurai says predictions for a dry race were ‘super’. But then the rain came down, something that has proved a challenge for the number 26 at times this season despite his past record - which includes having won one of the wettest Malaysian GPs in recent memory in 2012. But in the end, the Repsol Honda rider made it into the top five on Sunday.
Sepang 2012 - MotoGP - RACE - Full
“I’m satisfied,” says Pedrosa of his fifth-place finish. “Our predictions in the wet were terrible. We expected to finish last. I think to finish fifth is quite a positive step and I think we managed to make a good choice.” The Spaniard explains that choice as both the tyre they went with and changes they made before the race. “Firstly, we changed the bike and put a new bike on track for the wet conditions that I’d never ridden before,” explains the Spaniard. “And our tyre choice was the soft, because I could have a little more support in the corners.”
MotoGP™ riders on the #MalaysianGP Race
That was more a compromise than a perfect solution, but although the hand was forced, the result was an improvement: “With the soft, the problem was to keep the temperature in the center because it was spinning,” he explains, “and with these two long straights it was difficult to manage that. I was losing a lot in a straight line but I could go round corners. So I had to go for that choice.”
There were a few on the grid who, inversely, suffered more in the conditions on race day than in the wet on Friday, so Pedrosa says that confirms the move they made. But the step is somewhat bittersweet, with race day predictions in the dry – for the five-time winner at the venue – a slight ‘what could have been’.
“I think other people had some problems because laptimes on Friday were faster,” explains Pedrosa, “and some riders were faster than today on Friday. We don’t know what problems they had but we made a better move today and we could finish fifth. It is good but also a shame because expectations in the dry were super…and it rained just before the race.”
Now it’s Valencia and back on home turf for the three-time World Champion, with Pedrosa ready to push to end the year on a high.
Pedrosa's pole-winning lap