Just a few weeks after being written off as a MotoGP title no-hoper, Dani Pedrosa stormed to a commanding victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello yesterday.
Pedrosa produced one of his trademark wins, blasting away off the line before opening up an unassailable lead with a series of quality fast laps in the early stages.
It was a masterful performance from Pedrosa who never came under any serious threat with Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso unable to match his impressive speed.
At one stage his advantage was close to eight seconds and his ninth premier class win and first at the spectacular Mugello circuit moved him firmly back into contention for the championship.
Pedrosa, who was narrowly defeated by Lorenzo to victory in last month’s Spanish GP at Jerez, now trails his fierce rival by 25-points and he was understandably jubilant with his success.
Pedrosa had a torrid winter testing campaign on board Honda’s new factory RC212V, which seemed incapable of mounting a genuine threat to Yamaha’s dominant YZR-M1.
But Honda’s fortunes are definitely on the up and the triple world champion said:
“It is a great feeling because this winter it was very hard with so many problems with the bike. To be again at the top is great for me. We’ve had to work a lot but we had a better performance in Jerez but in the last two laps of the previous race we had some problems and we didn’t make it to the podium.
"To be back at the top and winning is unbelievable. I had a great feeling with the bike, especially at the beginning of the race. I just pushed as hard as I could and I did some good lap times and I’m delighted.”
Pedrosa said he pushed at a furious pace in the first half of the race to avoid a repeat of his agonising late defeat in Jerez.
He’d led for the entire race only to be passed by Lorenzo halfway round the final lap.
“I was looking for the gap but I don’t think even one time who was behind me. I just looked at the gap and continued to push. I never look for the name and just push. It has been hard but you can see everybody was happy today. At the start of the season we had a bike that wasn’t even going straight. So now to be winning is a great feeling.
"I’d like to keep on going because after this race we have to get some momentum going. Until now we’ve had a bit of bad and good feeling in the races so I hope in the next few we can stay on the top.”
Pedrosa said Honda still had plenty of work to do, adding that the RC212V is still difficult to find a base set-up that works well on all tracks.
He said: “In this race when we started on Friday our bike was very heavy and slow in the corners and it was always physical to move around and play with the bike.
"It is clear for us that we have a lot of work to do on Friday when we get to a new track. It is going to be hard for my team and for me and also for Andrea in the new tracks, but we hope with work we can get there."
"Had he been surprised that the expected onslaught from Lorenzo never actually materialised”
"I expect to have more of a fight with Jorge but in the first laps he couldn’t find the grip but he’s always consistent and that’s what makes him dangerous," said Pedrosa.
- For the full story read this week's MCN out on Wednesday