Fifth may have been his best result since June, but Dani Pedrosa was still not satisfied, the Spaniard cursing his tyre choice for Sunday’s MotoGP outing at Aragon which, he felt, robbed him of the chance to challenge the leading group.

While team-mate Marc Marquez decided on a last-minute rear tyre change on the grid, from hard to soft, Pedrosa ploughed ahead with Michelin’s hard rear option, which the 32-year old felt cost him dear.

“I was more competitive today than recently,” began Pedrosa, who finished 5.2s back of the race winner, the closest he’s been to victory since the season opener in Qatar.

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“I was closer to the front group, and I was able to stay the closest lap times compared to the first guys. Unfortunately, I think the tyre choice was the big thing today.

“It's a shame, because my riding and my pace was good, but the grip on the track was not as good, because maybe after Moto2 the grip wasn't that high, and the hard rear was not giving the grip that we had in practice.

“Going into the turn, sliding, and losing the rear a lot, both sides, and also going on the exit, so much spin. I think maybe the soft was more matching today because of the track conditions, and sure the soft at the end, you have to manage.

“But I believe that you have always more corner speed and more exit, and the guys in front running with the soft, they were taking time on the entry and exit of the turn, and this was the three tenths I was losing around the track. So last corner was very difficult to exit there with the throttle.

“It's a shame, because today I think it was possible to be on the podium or fight for the victory, but we fought as hard as I could with the setup I was running.”

On how he usually judges tyre selection with the Moto2 outing, which finishes just under an hour before the showpiece race kicks off, influencing grip, Pedrosa admitted the decision sometimes amounts to ‘a gamble.’

“It's a bit of a gamble,” he said. “Sometimes it's a bigger effect, sometimes it's a smaller effect, so you don't know exactly. It's hard to say. I think Marc changed the tyre on the grid, and the rest, the Suzukis for example, were more or less sticking to their plan, Ducatis were sticking to their plan, I was sticking to my plan.

“Only Marc changed. But I didn't make so many laps on the soft during the practice, so I saw Marc changing the tyre, but I said, ‘I don't know.’ Because I didn't practice with the soft for such a long distance. But it seems like sometimes, it's more matching.”

Pedrosa’s current championship placing of eleventh goes some way to showing the difficulties he has encountered throughout the year, as he’s struggled to find a suitable base setting with the 2018 RC213V.

This, however, was a much-improved showing. “Going step by step,” he said. “The last race was a little better than usual, and this race was even a little better, so step by step, we go for the next race, and just keep working, and try to be a little better.”

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