Dani Pedrosa said he was relieved to put his struggles this season behind him as the Repsol Honda rider clinched his first MotoGP win since Sepang in 2015 with an imperious performance at Misano.
Pedrosa became the eighth different premier class winner in 2016 to create a little bit of history, with this season producing more individual race victors than any other in the history of the championship since it began in 1949.
The 30-year-old also ended a run of five races without a podium – Pedrosa's longest barren spell since he competed in the 125cc Grand Prix class.
The factory Honda rider stormed home in the final part of the race, picking off team-mate Marc Marquez before overhauling Jorge Lorenzo and finally long-time race leader Valentino Rossi to secure an overdue success.
“We did struggle, especially in my team, so especially my mechanics deserve this victory and I think today is a good day for them,” said Pedrosa.
“In the last races there has been many different winners and today I'm happy it's me because it has been super difficult in the last races, but all my fans and team support me very much and my family and friends, so it's super to give to them this victory. I'm just really glad to be here.
“We need to keep focused for the next race and we see that every race can be a bit different – the performance of the bike can change a lot and it depends on how the tyres work for that track. We need to keep the feet on the ground and try to work hard for the next conditions.”
Assessing his race strategy, Pedrosa said he felt he had the pace to challenge at the front but was wary of making his move too soon.
“Really I worked very hard today in the race because starting from eighth, I did quite a good start, I recovered maybe two positions at the beginning but in the first laps I was not super fast and then Valentino and Jorge were fighting a bit.
“Once Valentino was in the front he completely went away and was quite strong in the first part, so I had not many options at the beginning. When I was fourth, I was alone for many laps and I wasn't really losing or recovering but I knew I could do a good pace today in the race,” Pedrosa added.
“Actually, the pace was really strong towards the middle and end of the race so I just kept focused and doing my thing every lap. Little by little I could see that I was starting to catch and I knew that the key was trying not to make any mistakes or fight much. I never thought about the victory until ten laps to go because I could see that I was catching for the podium. A little later I could see that I was catching Valentino, so I tried to stay focused for the last part of the race and actually take the chance for the victory today.
“I knew that if I tried to go with Valentino, I could have mistimed it. I tried to chose the correct time to pass and keep going to the front.”
Pedrosa was initially concerned with his front tyre selection but as the race unfolded, he realised he had made the correct decision to run with the soft compound Michelin.
“Tyre choice actually I was worried in the start of the race because I never used this tyre in cold conditions, I only used in the morning practice.
“My feeling was better with that tyre, I don't know why, but the tyre is a medium tyre like the other tyre but they say it is a different medium. In the start I was feeling a bit [worried] because I was the only one with this tyre. Once I got started I knew the feeling was better for me and I kept a strong pace to the end. I enjoyed this time, I never enjoyed the last races but this time I enjoy.”
Pedrosa remains fourth in the championship standings, 17 points behind Jorge Lorenzo in third.