Dani Pedrosa ‘positive’ ahead of first race

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Factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa insists he is in positive mood heading to the eagerly anticipated first MotoGP clash in Qatar this weekend.

The Spaniard has endured a nightmare winter testing campaign having struggled to adapt quickly to Ohlins suspension having switched from Showa for 2010.

He ended the pre-season testing campaign in Qatar last month in a dismal 13th place on the new Honda RC212V but is confident he will stay have a big part to play in the season opener on Sunday night.

The triple world champion, who is starting his fifth campaign in the Repsol Honda squad, said: “It’s time for the first race of the season and we go back to Qatar this weekend ready to put in maximum effort to do as well as possible at the opening round.

"There’s no need to get carried away with the nerves or expectations because this would be only detrimental for us.

"We will stay calm, be very focused and simply concentrate as hard as possible in the practice sessions in order to find a good setting for the race.

"Two years ago we made an incredible step forward between the test and the race weekend and we have to do it once again - we know it can happen.

"I’m starting the season without physical problems, which means that the situation is much better than in the past, so we will work hard and do the maximum to get the best result possible in Qatar.

"I fully trust in the team around me and I also believe in myself, so I’m feeling positive going into this weekend.”

In contrast to Pedrosa’s dip in form, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso heads to the first race in much more confident mood.

Having switched to Ohlins suspension last August, the Italian has found a set-up direction with his RC212V machine and he was third quickest at the Losail International Circuit last month.

The 2009 British GP winner said: “I’m really looking forward to the first race and after the long winter break and testing sessions it’s a very good feeling to heading into a race weekend again.

"Me are the team are very motivated and happy with the work done in the pre-season.

"We have moved in the right direction and have seen a big improvement through testing, and this gives us a lot of confidence for the start of the season.

"On Friday we will start with the base setting from the last test session we had here in Qatar a few weeks ago and work on it further through the course of the race weekend.

"The gap from us to the fastest riders has come down, but we still need to work really hard because we’re not close enough yet.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt