Dani Pedrosa produced a battling performance to claim a heroic fifth place in the 22-lap MotoGP race at Brno but refused to be content with his afternoon's work, as the hot conditions underscored Honda's weaknesses.
Walking with a heavy limp on the way into his press debrief, Pedrosa did some overnight treatment with his left ankle – injured in a fall caused by mechanical issues on Friday – to 'help with the pain.'
It seemed to pay immediate dividends as Pedrosa placed sixth in morning warm-up, less than a tenth slower than the fastest Honda. In the race, the 29-year old slowly made his way through from a third row starting slot.
Citing problems with grip and a bike that continued to wheelie on corner exit, Pedrosa wasn't pleased with his afternoon pace, despite catching and passing Andrea Dovizioso for fifth place in an entertaining last lap scrap.
“For me it was a shit race, because I was not fast, unfortunately. I did have a good feeling in the race with the tyres. My front and my rear were not really gripping the track. I don't know about the rest, but my lap times were very slow. In the morning I was lapping quite good, so I was quite confident in the race to try to fight with the Ducatis, and see if I can be third, fourth.
“But unfortunately I had, not a bad start, really, I had a normal, decent start, I was keeping my position, but into the first turn, Hernandez and Petrucci, they both touched me, and I lost more places. Then I tried to push, and I felt I was about to crash, and I tried to make my way up a little bit more slowly. I was recovering some time at the end with the Ducatis and Valentino, so unfortunately I missed the first part of the race.
“At the end some good battle with Dovizioso, unfortunately I could see many handicaps on our bike, riding behind. It's hard to make some progress, but we have to try to make the bike a little bit more easy to ride, because we have a lot of wheelie, and it's so hard to keep the wheel down, and then we lose a lot of acceleration.
“Also physically, this makes you so tired. So the strong point was more into the turns, but with Dovizioso it was so difficult to pass him, because in the straight, he was so fast, and every straight he pulled away from me, so I was not in touch into the turn, except on the infield, where I was more close. Fighting at the end we had some moves there, from him and from me, and finally could stay in front of him, but unfortunately, I missed the time to also catch Iannone.”
Speaking of his overally fitness after Friday's crash which seriously limited movement in his left ankle – his gear-shifter foot – Pedrosa he felt much better than Saturday.
“Before the race, we did some treatment to help with the pain, and I was able to ride more free. Now I have some pain, but even though I did not have the perfect position on the bike and the perfect push on the leg, I was more free than I was yesterday, when I was so stiff, because today I had a little more movement on the ankle, so I was able to ride a little bit better, but unfortunately that crash ruined my weekend.
“I tried to recover as much as I could, and the mechanics did the best job to fix the bike, because the bike was destroyed after the crash, and they put the fire extinguisher on it. So they had to assemble a whole bike. But I wanted to give a better result for my team, but now we have to work for Silverstone, try to get back on the podium.
"I think it's possible to get a little more speed. We will try to work also on fitness, to see how is the foot. I will maybe make an MRI soon, and see if everything is alright, or make some other treatment.”