Dani Pedrosa challenged Repsol Honda team-mate and pole sitter Casey Stoner for the lead at turn one of Sunday's Portuguese MotoGP, but his RCV kicked sideways on the exit (pictured) and he slipped to third behind Stoner and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.

The trio were separated by less than a second for large parts of the race, but no passes were made and Pedrosa thus collected third place - marking his 100th podium in grand prix.

"It's been a really tough race from the beginning, the pace was very very high from the first lap to the final one," said Pedrosa. "Casey did a good race, unbelievably strong. I had a big shake in the first [turn], Casey and Jorge overtook me and I lost 1.5 seconds on the first lap.

"During the race I had some issues in the middle of the corner, I was not fast with corner speed; each lap I tried to get a little better, to try and modify my riding style, the mapping, braking later, I tried everything, I managed to match the lap times but not to close the gap."

Pedrosa has now taken 2-3-3 results from the opening rounds of the 2012, putting him third in the championship, 14 points from new leader Stoner.

"Three races on the podium is very good overall, but in three races we missed something, so let's try it again in the next one," said the Spaniard.

Reflecting on his century of podiums, Pedrosa added: "To reach my 100th podium is amazing and shows how fast the time goes. I'm very happy for that and I want to thank all my teams and sponsors during this time and especially Honda because I've been with them for my whole career".

Pedrosa took his first podium at Valencia in 2001, during his debut 125cc grand prix season. The 26-year-old is a single 125cc and double 250cc world champion. He has finished runner-up in the MotoGP World Championship on two occasions.

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