A revitalised Dani Pedrosa returned to the MotoGP podium at Aragon in Spain after winning an enthralling last-lap duel with Valentino Rossi to secure the runner-up spot.

Pedrosa has been accused of lacking fight in the past but no-one who witnessed Sunday's race could doubt the Repsol Honda rider's battling spirit as he fought tooth and nail with the Movistar Yamaha rider on a blistering final lap.

Each rider made a series of strong but fair passes and although Rossi appeared to have made his move stick at Turn 4, Pedrosa squeezed back ahead at Turn 7, forcing the 36-year-old wide with a manoeuvre that ultimately decided the outcome, even though Rossi briefly moved back in front with a final late lunge at the bus-stop chicane, which cost him his drive onto the straight.

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Pedrosa, who has endured a difficult season hindered by a recurring arm pump problem that required surgery, looked back to his best as he clinched his third podium finish of the season, denying Rossi an extra four world championship points as the Italian saw his lead at the top cut to 14 points by race winner Jorge Lorenzo.

"I'm really happy with the final result and I think today was really hard at the beginning because at the start I lost some gap," said Pedrosa.

"I'd say it was one more lap than I expected behind the Ducati [of Iannone] because it's really hard to overtake the Ducati. I lost some time there but I saw Marc [Marquez] crash and I just took care of everything in the beginning in the first three or four laps and then I started to feel a little bit more comfortable with the front, so I started to make my rhythm and Jorge was obviously already gone.

"But Valentino came strong from the back like every Sunday and he stayed many laps behind and I can hear his engine all the time. In many corners he was so close and I didn't know really where his strong points where, but I could see he was ready for the fight.

"He actually attacked me with not many laps to go - five or six laps to go - and I knew I had to fight with him and I was able to make a good move and today I had control of the bike even though I wasn't the fastest."

Pedrosa wasn't prepared to concede second place lightly after pushing so hard to stay ahead of Rossi and said his brilliant runner-up finish goes some way to easing the disappointment he has faced in previous races.

"I had good control on the bike and could make some changed lines and attack also when he passed - I was ready to attack back. I was stronger at some points than him but he surprised me because he was stronger at some others where I didn't expect him to attack me," he said.

"At the end I said I have to hold on in the second place because after all this fighting for five or six laps now it is not good to finish third. On the last lap there were some strong moves from both of us but finally I was able to stay in front and I am happy because it has been a little hard in the last races but today, although I wasn't the fastest, I had a good feeling and I enjoyed a lot.

"We know it's hard [in final four races] because here we expected to have a little bit of an advantage because of the track but we can see that we struggle more than in the past at every track," Pedrosa added.

"It's going to be hard also but we have to be positive and stay as strong as we can every race and if wee see an opening for a podium or a victory, we have to take the chance."

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Good hard racing from Dany. Rossi tried everything. The Honda simply killed the yamaha on the straights. Also nice to see that dany was pleased to help his spanish friend...and as usual it would have been a boring race with lorenzo without rossi...for that rossi got 25 points and lorenzo zip