Dani Pedrosa is a small man with a big target on his back this season; the Spaniard is attempting to defend his 250cc world championship - and tipped by many to be a future MotoGP star. As such, his class rivals would like nothing more than to boost there own value by defeating him.
Here the Telefonica Movistar Honda rider talks about his pre-season preparations, his main rivals for 2005, how much of a threat the class rookies will be and much more...
What's your assessment of your preseason?
In the end, we're leaving Jerez having solved the carburetion and suspension problems we'd been having both in Barcelona and here and that had delayed our working plan at the beginning.
We finally managed to complete everything we had planned and that's positive. It's been a long preseason, compared to the one I had last year and I would assess it as good and productive. The other riders are being very fast for the moment, but we're happy with our progression and performance.
Who do you think your main rivals will be for 2005?
It's obvious that Porto is very strong, but we also have to consider De Puniet and De Angelis, as well as those riders who have come up from the 125cc class. They've all been lapping very fast. Both the riders and the bikes are working very hard.
You've mentioned the class rookies, what sort of role do you think they will play?
They're getting better every day and they're already setting fast times. We also have to consider that Barberá, Lorenzo and Dovizioso are Honda riders as well and that Stoner has also been very fast here in Jerez.
But we'll have to wait and see how they do it in the race. They still have to get the pace, although we'll surely see them on the podium more than once. It will certainly be a hard-fought and complicated year.
The season will begin in two weeks, what are your expectations for Jerez?
It's hard to say, although the fact that the first race is going to be in the same place as the first tests may give us some hints. It's going to be a much contended race, I'm sure that many of us will be in the front and we're all eager to start. The last times set have been very fast, so we only need to know how the fans will react, although I'm sure that they're going to be excellent, as always.
What are your plans between now and the first race?
There's not much time left before the grand prix in Jerez and the pre-season has been hard, so we're going to take a rest and work out a bit. With so many tests and travels, we haven't been able to work on the physical part as much as we would have liked.
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