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MotoGP Interview: Dani Pedrosa - EXCLUSIVE

"To always improve, win, and test yourself. That's the spirit I feel inside" – Dani Pedrosa.
Dani Pedrosa and MotoGP team-mate Marc Marquez travelled straight to Indonesia from Sepang, where a quick PR tour culminated in the Repsol Honda launch in Jakarta. sat down with Pedrosa, a 29-time MotoGP race winner and triple title runner-up, moments after he had left the stage.

The Spaniard had improved from 13th on day one at the Sepang test to finish a close fourth fastest, as he and Marquez worked on evaluating the latest Honda engine - a process that also requires significant work on the single electronics...
Dani, you've had quite a wild reception here for the past few days, especially during the factory visit. You've been in MotoGP a long time so does that kind of thing still surprise you?

Dani Pedrosa:
Of course, of course. It was a unique thing because - like you said - we've had many, many experiences with fans; many different moments in many different countries. But here, yesterday, was surreal. Firstly, to see the huge factory, but more than that to see all the employees together. Because it was almost 3,000 people screaming and wanting to have a picture! I've never had so many people at once like that. Amazing.
MotoGP is still surprising you off track, how about on track? What is it that keeps you coming back and pushing to the limit?

Dani Pedrosa:
It's the aim to always improve, to win, and to test yourself. To push yourself all the time. That's the spirit I feel inside.
You showed, most recently at Misano, what you can do when the bike is working for you - what sort of 'character' do you like from a MotoGP bike?

Dani Pedrosa:
Well I would say I like a bike that is more-or-less stable, because my riding style suits the way of repeating the same line and hitting the same points lap-after-lap. Being really consistent, in the way of riding and for that you need a stable machine.

Obviously, it's no secret that I am very light, so I use quite a soft shock at the rear, but not as soft on the front suspension. Because I still have to battle with the best braking guys. But my front suspension is not as hard as them because I am not as big, so I cannot [use my body to] put the same weight over the wheels as they can.

I can't transfer my weight [forward and back] in the same way they do, so I need a softer bike to transfer the weight; I need the bike to pitch more for itself. But obviously, the G-force and the speed is the same, so you still need to have a [stiff] spring.
The type of Michelin tyre available played a big role for you last year, how is the new 'fatter' Michelin front? Is it more to your liking?

Dani Pedrosa:
Yeah, the new tyre has a bit more grip and there was a bit more feeling with it. The fact that it's fatter - we still have to judge better, because leaning the bike into the corner was a bit slower. So that is not one of the strongest points of the new tyre, but the fact there was more grip and more feeling turned out to be why, I think, there were less crashes at the Sepang test. I'm not sure if it was the new asphalt or the new tyre, but we didn't see as many crashes. So now we need to go to different tracks and check again.
The other big change last year was the move to single 'unified' electronics, how is the level of performance?

Dani Pedrosa:
The level of performance with the electronics is not high as before, but I also believe the strategy of each bike or team is different for this unified software and this effects the performance differently.

Like we started in a not-so-good level at the Sepang test because of that basically, but could improve during the test. Instead, for example the Ducatis, they started already with quite a high pace.

So I would say it's a little bit like 'hiding'. Some tracks benefit for one [kind of electronic strategy], some tracks can benefit for others, depending on how the bike is reacting to the conditions.
Honda also had to do a lot of work on the new electronics at the start of last season, does it make it easier that you've been through that process once?

Dani Pedrosa:
Not really! But basically what we've learned is to put a lot more focus on that area. Because we were focussing more on different parts of the bike and we didn't expect that to be such a big difference, compared to our rivals; the strategy we use, how we use the electronics. So we learned that we need to focus a lot also in that part of the machine.
Now you almost need to get the electronics sorted out first, before you can look at other parts of the bike?

Dani Pedrosa:
Basically, I would say yes. Because most of the strange behaviours we have on the bike are coming because maybe [the electronics] are not completely set-up in that sector of the track. And then we have movement, or we have more wheelie, or power feeling.
The single electronics are staying but the winglets are gone. You were one of the riders who clearly thought they were dangerous, what do you make of the new Yamaha fairing?

Dani Pedrosa:
I've seen some pictures and clearly it looks more safe than having a 'blade'. The other issue is the feeling of riding with it, but I can't speak about that obviously.
We saw at Sepang that Marc is considering a thumb-operated rear brake, is that something you are interested in?

Dani Pedrosa:
I have tried it once. It's not a bad idea if you get used to it, I think Dovizioso is the one using it already in MotoGP. But I didn't test it long enough to really learn how to use it and see the benefit of it.
Finally Dani, at this early stage, how do you see the balance between the manufacturers?

Dani Pedrosa:
It looks like all manufacturers have raised their performance, but not only the bike itself in the corners - with electronics for example - but with the engines also. It looks like in the straight, from the speeds at this test - the Ducati was still ahead, but the Yamaha was fast, the Suzuki and the KTM is already fast in a straight line also.

So it looks like all manufacturers are getting to a good level and providing good performance from their bikes, which raises every team.
Thanks Dani.

Dani Pedrosa:
You're welcome.

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Honda , Dani Pedrosa

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pedrosa, Sepang MotoGP test, February 2017
Nakagami, Oliveira, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Edgar Pons, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Isaac Vinales, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Schrotter, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Cortese, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
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Isaac Vinales, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
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Morbidelli, Luthi, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Morbidelli leads start, Moto2 race, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Vinales overtakes Dovizioso, Qatar MotoGP Race 2017
Rossi, Qatar MotoGP 2017
Smith, Qatar MotoGP 2017

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February 10, 2017 3:46 PM

You have to be naive to think that Dani rides that beast just to earn a certain amount of money. A well-off guy is not going to risk his life just for money. It must be something else. I think he needs to prove his direct competitors that he's like them, namely a world champion. If he wins a motogp title, he may retire just like Rosberg. But even with luck on his side, I don't think he will ever win the title. Seemingly, Dani does not sell as much as Ezpeleta would want him to. That's my only explanation for the 2012 Missano blunder, something that had never happened in the whole history of motogp..

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