Dani Pedrosa says Valentino Rossi can never be discounted as a title contender, despite the somewhat inauspicious start to the seven-time MotoGP world champion's career as a Ducati rider.
Rossi finished the first pre-season test of 2011 in a modest 11th position overall, while Pedrosa – together with Honda stablmates Casey Stoner and Marco Simoncelli – have been amongst the main pace setters.
Despite this, Pedrosa is refusing to eliminate Rossi from the equation of title challenger, maintaining the Italian has the ability to turn things around in time for the start of the new season.
“The great unknown quantity will perhaps be Rossi,” he said in his latest blog. “It's his first year with Ducati and in Malaysia he wasn't amongst the fastest riders. But Rossi is Rossi, and you can never rely on anything. Even when he's in last place on the Saturday he still has the capacity to surprise.”
Additionally, Pedrosa is wary of reigning champions Yamaha, pointing out that Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies continue to display the most convincing race pace.
“Right now the Honda RC212V seems to be functioning well. We'll see what happens when we get to the first GP of the year, because everything could change there. You never know, but at the moment everything points towards a tough World Championship.
“The Yamaha continues to have a good rhythm lap upon lap. Lorenzo, as the defending Champion, is a rival to beat, and Spies had a great season in 2010 and will certainly be better this year.”