As the man once touted to take the fight to Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa's thunder has been stolen somewhat in recent seasons by the likes of Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo as they continue to make a convincing pitch for the role of 'pretender to the throne'.

It was a similar story in 2009, Pedrosa getting slightly overshadowed as the attention focused in on Rossi versus Lorenzo, even if by the season's end he was beginning to regularly get on terms with his rivals.

For the most part, Pedrosa enjoyed a good season on the Repsol Honda, particularly given he spent the majority of the pre-season recovering from injury. Save for a tentative 11th place finish at the Qatar curtain raiser, Pedrosa was straight back on form for Motegi with a third place finish.

Second on home ground at Jerez followed, while a third at Le Mans put Pedrosa in a good position in the standings overall.

Crucially, however, retirements in two of the next three races would see Pedrosa slip out of contention, and while he would make some amends with victory at Laguna Seca, it still left him too much ground to make up over the remainder of the year.

A fall from the lead at Indianapolis, on a weekend Pedrosa otherwise dominated, didn't aid his cause either, but a run of five podiums in the final five races - including a win at the Valencia season finale - served as a reminder that the Spaniard and the Repsol Honda are still a competitive force.

Stoner's warm-up lap accident also helped Pedrosa leapfrog the Australian to third in the standings to make it a trio of 'medals' in the overall standings. However, with Honda itching to get on terms with Yamaha, Pedrosa recognises third won't be good enough in 2010...

Statistics:

Team: Repsol Honda Team Bike: Honda RC212V

Championship position: 3rd Points: 234

Races: 17 Pole positions: 2 Victories: 2 Podiums: 11 Best results: 1st (Laguna Seca, Valencia) Points finishes: 15

Top 10 MotoGP Rider of the Year 2008: 6th

Top 10 MotoGP Rider of the Year 2009:

6 - Marco Melandri 7 - Andrea Dovizioso 8 - Toni Elias 9 - Loris Capirossi 10 - Nicky Hayden