Dani Pedrosa’s disapointment at a second successive defeat to rookie teammate Marc Marquez was outweighed by his relief to have challenged for victory in the inagural Circuit of the Americas (COTA) clash in Texas.
Pedrosa was strangely out of sorts in the season opener in Qatar with rear grip issues meaning he never came close to continuing the red-hot form he showed during the second half of 2012 when he won six out of the last eight races.
Pedrosa was back in contention for success in yesterday’s COTA race, though for the second race in a row he was cast in the shadow of Marquez, who became the youngest rider in history to win a MotoGP race.
Pedrosa said: “I am very happy because even though I finished second it is a big relief after the first race. Somehow in Qatar and also on Friday here I had some problems to get the confidence with the grip on the rear. I was struggling quite a lot but yesterday (Saturday) I felt better and in the race I was not so fast in the first section but my riding was good in the rest of the track and this is good."
Pedrosa had led Marquez unti lap 13 when his compatriot surged to the front. And just as he was sizing up a dramatic late counter attack, Pedrosa’s victory hopes evaoprated when he made a mistake three laps from home that dropped him from 0.3s to 1.6s off Marquez.
It was a deficit he couldn’t claw back and he blamed the physically demanding COTA layout for the costly error.
With his arms tiring around the long track, which has 20 corners and runs for close to 3.5 miles, he said: “I lost it once about three laps from the end when I lost about 1.5s. That was it but I am glad that the feeling is back. I think everybody was struggling physically but because I am quite small and it is hard to manage these heavy bikes on this kind of track.
I was pushing hard in the braking and the bike was dancing a lot on the rear so to control the bike you really have to tighten up with the arms and I was trying to ride more stable. I was using a lot of strength to keep the balance of the bike right and towards the end I was changing direction slowly from right to left. Left to right I was ok but right to left I was really slow and I couldn’t manage.”
Pedrosa would have probably walked home from Texas than be beaten by Marquez again but he paid tribute to his teammate after he notched an impressive first premier class win.
He said: “Marc was superb and rode very well.”
For more from Pedrosa and Marquez, see the April 24 issue of Motor Cycle News.