Second at Sepang
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa rode a brilliant race at witheringly hot Sepang this day, leading the first ten laps and finally finishing in a strong second place.
The result completed an impressive weekend for the Spaniard, who yesterday scored
his second pole position of the year and his first pole with his new technical package of pneumatic-valve RC212V and Bridgestone tyres, which he only started using last month.
The race was a huge challenge for riders, with ambient temperatures reaching 40 degrees and a light drizzle falling at several corners at three-quarter distance. Pedrosa got the holeshot from pole and set a scorching pace, Valentino Rossi the only rider who could go with him. In the end he had to settle for second, his best result with his new bike and tyres, proving that his team is making excellent progress.
“It was a very tough race and I'm very happy about this result. I want to thank my team, we have worked well, improving every session. On Friday morning we were only 17th, I think, then we started moving forward and yesterday we were able to get pole and today I finished second, so finally it has been a good weekend for me and my team. We have made another important step forward after Phillip Island where I crashed out of the race and hurt my left knee”, he explained. “At the end of today's race Valentino was faster than me, he always puts on some extra pressure towards the end, so it was difficult to follow him, but we were closer this time than we were at Motegi [where Pedrosa finished third], so I am happy that we are making progress with our new bike and tyres.
It has been a little bit difficult for me and my team to get used this package so late in the season, but we are getting faster every race and this is important. If we can get closer at the next race then we know we are working in a good direction. I am looking forward to Valencia next week: there will be a lot of Spansh fans there.”
The race featured excellent performance from three other Honda riders, making it four RC212Vs in the top five finishing positions. Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V) took third, Pedrosa's team-mate Nicky Hayden was just a fraction behind in fourth and Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V) took a close fifth.
Next weekend's Valencia GP in Spain is the 18th and last MotoGP race of 2008.