Dani Pedrosa could barely contain his relief and delight after he claimed his first ever victory at the Estoril circuit to narrow Jorge Lorenzo’s MotoGP world championship lead to just four-points.
Relief was etched all over the Spaniard’s face after he streaked away from factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo in the closing stages of a somewhat uninspiring Portuguese MotoGP encounter.
Pedrosa had been content to shadow Lorenzo’s YZR-M1 for the opening 24-laps before he passed on lap 25 to win with a comfortable three second advantage at the end of the 28-lap race.
The win was even sweeter for Pedrosa given the recent trauma surrounding his long-standing left shoulder injury.
Ever since the triple world champion broke his left collarbone in a practice crash for last October’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi, he’s been dogged by a numbness issue with his left hand and arm.
Pedrosa learned a compressed artery, which restricted blood flow to his left arm, was the cause of the issue and he underwent further surgery earlier this month to solve the problem.
Unsure of whether recent surgery in the long break had been a success, Pedrosa was ecstatic to emerge from the Estoril race with no repeat of the numbness issue as he romped to his first win since the Misano round last September.
The Repsol Honda rider, who has finished on the podium in all three races in 2011 despite his physical woes, said: “I'm very happy for the win. But more than the win I'm very happy for my condition because it looks like the surgery was successful.
"I had a lot of pain in the muscle and I was trying to rest sometimes the arm because it was cramping after 15 laps. I was behind Jorge and trying to be focused, but I was waiting for the numbness and the loss of power. But it didn't come and I was just so happy to see that the surgery was successful.
"It’s been six months with this problem and I could tell you at the end I didn't know what else to do. It is a big relief. I just was riding at my best because Jorge at this track is amazing. He is always very fast and I was trying to follow him and stick with him.
"I had some problems with the front grip and the rear grip, but I still could follow him and at the end I try to make the move and I was successful on it, so it is amazing to win. I didn't think I could win this race but by the middle of the race he stepped up the rhythm and I could stick with him, so this was good for me.
"It feels even greater because I fight with Jorge. Here he's amazingly fast and he put in 100 per cent effort and he made me use much more effort than normal. If I was racing alone, maybe the race would not be so interesting or so great, so thanks to him for putting my level up.”
See the May 4 issue of MCN for full coverage of the Estoril MotpGP race.