The 2009 season was not an easy season for Dani Pedrosa.
An accident-filled pre-season, with operations and recovery time included, prevented the Repsol Honda rider from arriving at the first race in Qatar with his homework done.
Since then, they continued to drag behind, both in the technical aspects of the bike and the physical form of the rider.
In spite of all the trouble this season has caused the Repsol rider, Pedrosa has once again added two new victories to his list of MotoGP achievements.
Now that the 2010 pre-season testing in Valencia has ended, Dani Pedrosa evaluates his year.
Now that you have finally recovered and are in top shape, would you prefer the World Championship to go on a little longer?
“No. Now the World Championship has finished and that's that. I have to go on working with next year in mind. What's done; is done.”
The highlight of the season?
“The win in Valencia a few days ago was a great moment, but the Laguna Seca win was also incredible, on that circuit and after everything that had happened since pre-season testing.
"What's more, we arrived at the United States Grand Prix at the lowest point of the season, and all of a sudden, it was like rising to the highest. That was an amazing day.”
And the lowest point of the season?
“The worst moment was possibly in winter, during pre-season testing. I had a really tough time; I couldn't recover properly from the injury to my left knee and had to have another operation…, it was a really long period.
"What's more, the fall in Qatar made the situation even worse.”
And crossing the finish line last Sunday, what were you thinking?
“It was an incredible sensation because we had all been thinking, dreaming and hoping for this win all week and finally winning in front of all the fans was amazing.
"What I most enjoyed was the lap of honour, celebrating the win with all the fans there. I have great memories of the race and that lap of honour.”
What has Dani Pedrosa learned this season?
“I've learned that you have to be there, you have to fight and go on fighting, and that above all, you can never give up, because then you're not going to get anywhere.
"You have to go on fighting; even if luck isn't on your side, you have to keep going.”
What mistake would Dani Pedrosa not make again this season?
“I think that you can learn from everything and obviously, I'll try not to make the same mistakes that we made last season.”
How have you adapted to the options proposed by Bridgestone, and what do you think of the switch to the single tyre?
“Well, the adaptation process wasn't easy for us because the Honda RC212V is a bike that was developed on the Michelins and their specific performance, so we had to work throughout the season to try to make the bike competitive on the Bridgestones.
"And that wasn't easy, considering that you don't have time to test in a Grand Prix weekend and that I had such an accident-filled pre-season with hardly any time to test.
"As far as the single tyre supplier rule is concerned, I think it was a good decision, as this year, nobody talked about the tyres and the competition had one variant less that used influence, positively or negatively, some or others in every Grand Prix.”
You rode a 990cc for a year. Do you miss the Repsol Honda RC211V?
“2006 was my first year in MotoGP and the last for the 990cc. Those bikes were very different to those we ride now, that's true, and from my experience that year; they were a lot more fun.
"Now, there are a lot of electronic adjustments that prevent it from being us who really control all of the parameters when we are riding. If we really do go back to the 990cc, they'll be welcome.”
What do you ask of Honda next year?
“The same as I have been asking lately: improve the stability of the bike when braking and entering curves because that's where our Achilles' heel is.
"The engine we have is good, it's powerful and it has good power delivery, so we don't need any more improvements in that department at the moment. But we need to take a step forward with the chassis; advance and improve.”
After three testing days, do you think you are going in the right direction? What needs improving?
“It's still too early to evaluate what we should or must improve. Valencia is an unusual and special circuit where whether the chassis goes well or badly can be camouflaged by the type of curves and angles it has.
"But in the next test, in Malaysia, we will quickly pinpoint whether we have a competitive base or not and if we have improved the stability of the bike when braking and entering curves with the new chassis.
"In Sepang, there are very fast curves, where you immediately see if the chassis is working well or badly.”
How would you evaluate your first contact with Öhlins?
“In general, positive; the first two testing days in Valencia -the Monday and Tuesday, after the Grand Prix- were complicated because we couldn't get the right initial set up to ride fast.
"But on the Wednesday, we advanced and this allowed us to significantly improve our times, and at the same time, I felt more comfortable and secure on the bike.”
What did you say to Hiroshi Aoyama and Julito Simón, after both were crowned World Champions in 2009?
“I congratulated both of them. To be honest, I was made up; I was very happy for both of them.
"I think that they deserved it; they worked very hard for it and finally they did it. I'm made up that they did it; it hasn't been easy for either of them because they have been trying for many years, and not just anybody can win a World Championship.
"I'm thrilled for both of them, and even though I couldn't win the MotoGP title this year, their titles make me very happy.”
With less testing and the World Championship not getting back into action until 11 April, how will you spend so much time without racing?
“Taking a break, resting and disconnecting a little are always good; it helps you to physically and mentally recover to tackle the new season as good as new.
"So the fact that we all have the same break at the end of one year and the beginning of the next is good.
"But what's true is that it'll be a long time without training and what's worse, there are only 6 testing days left in the pre-season between now and going to Qatar for the first race, and that's not very much time considering all the work and tests we have ahead of us.”
What will Dani Pedrosa do over the next three months until the 2010 pre-season testing starts in Malaysia in February?
“Above all, rest a little and spend time with my family and friends. And disconnect, because it has been a very long and tough year for me.
"I'll also take advantage of the break to train physically and therefore, start the first test in 2010 in top shape.”