By Stephen English

The Catalan MotoGP is always a special race for the Spanish riders, but for Dani Pedrosa this Sunday's event will also mark his 200th grand prix appearance.

The former 125 and 250cc champion made his grand prix debut back in 2001. Pedrosa admitted to being surprised to have clocked up such a milestone, but to mark the occasion in Spain clearly means a lot to the Repsol Honda rider.

"200 is quite a lot of GPs," said Pedrosa. "It surprises me because it's a long time racing and it seems like I started yesterday. When I race here I feel so comfortable because of all the fans and family and friends. The motivation here is very high and when I'm racing here I push very hard to win and I have won here three times in all three classes."

The 2008 Catalunya MotoGP winner returns to Montmelo with a 12 point championship lead over countryman Jorge Lorenzo. But given the dominance that the reigning world champion enjoyed at the last race in Mugello, Pedrosa made it clear that it is too early to think in terms of the title.

"It is still the beginning of the championship but I am feeling good at the moment. I just hope to focus on this race. There has been a lot of media yesterday and today so now it is important to focus on the GP and do good work for the weekend."