The KTM wild card rider - the most successful rider in MotoGP history to have never won a championship - rolled back the years, at the age of 37, in his second race of the year.

His mind turned back to fellow legends who somehow claimed grand prix victories at an advanced age.

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Pedrosa said to GPOne: “Now that I’m this age, if I stop to remember that Valentino Rossi won his last race at 38, or Loris Capirossi at 37?

“At that time I was young and didn’t value enough that they were able to win at that age.

“Now I’m that age and I’m racing, fighting at the front with the young guys, now I know that racing at the top level at this age is more difficult than when you are young. No doubt.”

Pedrosa, who has raced in 15 separate MotoGP seasons, was asked to compare his generation to the newer breed of riders.

“There have been lots of talented riders in the past like Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Rossi,” he said.

“But just as many promising riders emerged from that period onwards.

“Look at the speed of Jorge Martin, I was amazed. Or Francesco Bagnaia, immediately in the top three a week after an accident.”

Pedrosa added: “I am satisfied with my race. Compared to Jerez, I got the start right and was able to stay in the slipstream of the Ducatis.

“I tried to get on Bagnaia’s tail, I succeeded, but couldn’t overtake because he defended phenomenally.

“It’s a shame because I could have been on the podium!”

His development of the KTM has been in the background of a successful season for the manufacturer who have big plans to expand further.

“Together we are doing an exceptional job and the bike is getting better and better,” he said.