Repsol Honda's MotoGP rookie Dani Pedrosa - already tipped by Valentino Rossi as one of his main 2006 challengers - completed a further 185 laps on his factory RCV at the third and final Sepang test, which concluded on Thursday.

Here, the reigning 250cc World Champion reviews his latest test, discuss the changes in his physical condition and riding style, specifies which tyres he's been using to set his impressive lap times, looks ahead to the upcoming IRTA tests and much more...

Q:
Firstly Dani, what do you think about the new Repsol Honda livery which you rode with for the first time this week?

Dani Pedrosa:
"I like it, especially that Repsol navy blue, I love that colour. The bike has a really good design, maybe the front part is the less convincing, because there was a larger blue surface before, but I like it very much in general terms, it's a beautiful bike."

Q:
Are you already starting to enjoy riding the bike?

Dani Pedrosa:
"Not yet, because I've never liked much preseason testing. It's a tedious job; you have to stop for long times, then you do some laps, go back to the garage, wait again, out again... I guess I'll enjoy much more once the races start, because the pace of races is much different."

Q:
What about your physical condition, is it better than in previous tests? Are your hands getting harder?

Dani Pedrosa:
"I haven't had much time to workout in the gym lately, because I've been travelling and testing a lot, you cannot ask your body for more, and we've been working intensively for the last 3 weeks, But, well, there's no better working out than what we actually do on the bike, because of the traction when opening the throttle and due to the effort when braking. You also have to apply a lot of force, especially when it moves, because it's much heavier than the 250cc I rode before. My hands are getting used to the effort, but the problem is that I think that there's much more humidity now compared to the last time we were here, and then your hands sweat a lot and the skin of the old callosities gets up. You have to be very careful to avoid wounds, because they hurt a lot and hinder you from grabbing the handlebar."

Q:
How has the latest three day test been here in Sepang; are you leaving satisfied?

Dani Pedrosa:
"Let's say that the first day and a half was very positive, we were able to do a lot of tests and draw conclusions. But the rest of the time has been a bit frustrating, the rain interrupted the tests several times and we were not able to do all the tyre tests we had planned and we couldn't do the race simulation we wanted to do either."

Q:
Your lap times have generally been very good in your recent tests (at Sepang III Dani was second fastest on day one and ended the test as the second fastest Honda, in fifth overall but just 0.23secs from the fastest time). Have you been using qualifying tyres or race tyres?

Dani Pedrosa:
"I've only been using race tyres on these three days. Since my arrival in MotoGP I have only tested on qualifying tyres one day, during the first tests we did here in Sepang, three weeks ago."

Q:
Now the overseas tests are over, the next tests are going to be in Spain: Three days in Barcelona and a further three in Jerez. Are you happy about riding your RCV in front of your home fans for the first time?

Dani Pedrosa:
"The truth is that I'm going to be a bit tired after so much travelling and lapping in Sepang. I look forward to changing the circuit, because lapping always on the same track ends-up being rather monotonous and you need to see and compare what happens in other places. Let's hope that everything works out fine during the next tests we have in Spain, because we are going to ride with much lower temperatures than here, so we'll see what happens."

Q:
Is the first IRTA test at Barcelona, in a couple of week's time, particularly important?

Dani Pedrosa:
"Yes, all remaining tests are important, because there's not much time left for the first race. Changing the circuit, we'll see new things regarding the behaviour of the bike; for example the tyres we're going to use will have a different compound and behaviour, so they're going to be completely new to me. The asphalt is also very different on these circuits and Michelin will surely bring over a lot of tyres to test. Then we'll go to Jerez and to weeks later we'll be racing the first GP there, so those tests are going to be very important as well."

Q:
In November, after the Valencia Grand Prix, you got off your 250cc bike and on to the Honda MotoGP machine for the first time. Since then, what changes have you gone through, both physically and in your riding style?

Dani Pedrosa:
"I have moved forward in both aspects, but it hasn't been a big progression. As regards the physical aspect, for example, I have managed to be a bit more rigid on the bike, not as soft as at the beginning, but I'm lacking muscular power, because I haven't had much time to work out between the holidays I had in December to rest and the January and February tests. And as regards my riding style, I have improved, but that's normal because you get used to the bike, the tyres and you feel more and more confident. But I don't think that it has been a spectacular evolution, just a little step forward."

Q:
Finally, are you planning to have a few days of rest in Barcelona or London now?

Dani Pedrosa:
"Well, for the moment neither one nor the other, because now I'm travelling to Japan, for almost one week. There's the Honda Party, a party at the start of the season attended by all Honda riders and drivers, to celebrate the start of the 2006 season. After Japan I have planned to spend some days in London for a rest and then I'll go to Barcelona for the tests."

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