In tense Grand Prix of Spain
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa took a strong second place after a hard fought Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez on Sunday, a result which moves him to equal second on points in the MotoGP World Championship at this early stage of the season.
pole position the 21-year-old Spaniard made a perfect start and led the field for half a lap before being passed by Valentino Rossi at the end of the back straight. For the first third of the race Pedrosa was able to take the fight to Rossi, keeping the gap to under half a second and delighting his huge home crowd.
However, with Rossi stretching away, Pedrosa elected to settle for the runner-up spot and his second podium finish in two races, putting him on 36 points in the World Championship equal with Casey Stoner who finished fifth today.
World Champion Nicky Hayden made a fantastic start from 11th on the grid and rocketed to up to fifth at the first corner. The hard-charging American took another position into turn three and remained in fourth place for the first 15 laps as he manfully tried to cling on to the front three.
Eventually the hot early pace took its toll on Hayden's tyres and he slipped through the field, finishing in seventh to take nine championship points. Valentino Rossi won today's 27-lap race, with his team-mate Colin Edwards in third place.
The Repsol Honda Team remains at the 4.423km (2.747 miles) Jerez circuit for two days of testing ahead of the next round of the MotoGP World Championship, the Grand Prix of Turkey, which takes place on April 21.
Position: 7th - Best lap: 1m 41.
441s World Championship position 6th 17pts
I got a good start and the first few laps were decent I was pushing really hard, though I didn't really have the set-up to run at that pace. It felt good to be up front and see what those boys were doing but I was taking a few chances and I probably used up my tyres too much in the first few laps trying to work my way forward. It's a little frustrating because at the last race in Qatar we got faster as the race went on yet here it was the opposite. Hopefully we can get two good days of testing and really try to make a big step before the short break. The issue is still getting the front end to turn, especially when the front tyre gets a little worn. Thanks to my team and to Michelin because those guys have been working hard and did some stuff to help me and even though the result isn't a lot better I do feel like we made some progress this weekend and we're going to keep fighting to get up front.
Position: 2nd - Best lap: 1m 41.014s World Championship position =2nd 36pts
I am very happy to be on the podium for the second race in a row and we've had a good weekend here at Jerez since first practice on Friday. At the beginning of the race the pace became very fast and I was trying really hard not to lose too much ground to Valentino in the early laps. From the middle of the race to the end I was a little bit slower than him so I just tried to keep focussed and not make any mistakes. The bike felt good today and the Michelin tyres too, and I enjoyed the battle, even though I wasn't able to fight for the win. I feel a little bit sorry for the fans here because I really wanted to win for them because they are very passionate. I think they enjoyed the racing today and this crowd supports everybody, not just the Spanish riders. The result is very good for the team because they have been working hard for me, so a big thanks to them.
Makoto Tanaka Repsol Honda Team Manager
Dani did a really good job and scoring his second podium in two races puts him in a strong position though of course we really wanted the win today. He couldn't quite fight for the victory, perhaps because the weather conditions weren't quite the same as the first two days here. Nicky had a very good start and tried very hard, though his tyres' performance was affected by the middle of the race and of course he's quite disappointed not to finish higher. However we have two days of testing here and with 16 races still to go, it's a long championship. We will be working very hard to get the results we want.