Malaysian MotoGP pole sitter Dani Pedrosa feared he could be heading for last place, when a rain storm arrived just before Sunday's Sepang race.

The Repsol Honda star has struggled more than any other rider in wet conditions this season, the lightweight Spaniard often unable to get within the working temperature range of the wet rear tyre.

But this time his fears were unfounded, Pedrosa holding fifth place for all 20 laps, albeit finishing 29s from race winner Andrea Dovizioso and 12s from team-mate Marc Marquez.

"I'm pretty happy about the result, because the expectations for the wet were a disaster," Pedrosa admitted.

"I was on pole in the dry and looking forward to race in the dry. I was crossing my fingers to have a dry track. It almost happened, so when I started to see the rain, I said, 'from first to last'.

"It was quite a shocking change of mind. But at the end, I think we did quite a good job, that's why I said fifth is quite positive."

Pedrosa revealed it was tough to forget his previous wet horrors - including 13th (+1m 10s) at Assen, 14th (+1m 30s) at Misano, retiring from 14th at Motegi and, most relevantly, being just 18th in Friday's wet FP2 session in Malaysia.

However the combination of a new setting and decision to race the soft rather than medium rear tyre paid off handsomely.

"It was a hard race because of the starting point, the mentality, but the team gave me a good bike," he said. "We changed the setting and it was a new setting I have never used before. Going more towards grip on the rear.

"I chose the soft tyre just because I can lean the bike. With the hard, I cannot. So it gave me confidence."

But there was a reason why all of the race top nine, except Pedrosa and third place Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha), had opted for the medium rear...

"The problem was the center of the tyre. I was spinning a lot, straight away, because the soft tyre is really soft in the center for the power we have," Pedrosa said. "

"I knew there was a limit on the center, but at least I can lean the bike. I was starting in the front, so I said, 'at least I will be there for the first few laps, and then I will see how I can manage'. In the end Zarco also was on the soft.

"I was just trying to keep the RPM low and not going full [throttle] in a straight line, so I was losing about one-second in the last section. But it was the way I could finish fifth. So overall, just thanks to the team."

The best lap time in Friday's wet session was a 2m 11.640s, compared with a 2m 13.084s in the race, both by Dovizioso. Pedrosa meanwhile was able to almost match his FP2 time.

"I don't know why, but it is clear that on Friday the track was faster for many people."

Some suspected the track was 'dirtier' for the race.

Pedrosa will start the Valencia season finale fifth in the world championship, 12 points behind Valentino Rossi.


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