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GP Week : Issue 146
GPWEEK: Dani, you’re the smallest rider. How are you getting on with the new big bike? DANI PEDROSA: I like the 1000cc. I prefer it, because I always like to have a bigger engine. Even when I get a rentacar. I don’t like a small engine, that you have to rev a lot. So I prefer this bike with more power. How is it going so far? We've been working a lot on the chassis, to find the best compromise. I am quite happy with the feeling. We have less chatter compared to the first test. We need to keep improving on entry and middle of the corner, but I think that we can expect improvements when we start to work more in depth with the engine and the electronics. It seems what has made the difference at Honda is Casey: he’s the first team-mate to beat you. How does it affect you? I’ve had a lot of good team-mates – but yes, Casey is the strongest. For me that is good. In racing you need for somebody to push you then you can ... re-invent yourself and improve yourself, and your weak points. What are your weak points? Braking, and riding in the wet, and riding in a group. Still overall I miss a little bit more improvement. Is there any tension between you and Casey? No, it is fine. We live fairly close but we don’t visit – private life is private life. But we have a good respect for each other. I’ve known Casey since he first arrived in Europe when we were 15, and we raced each in 125 and 250. We have no problems. Do you look at each other’s data? Yes. I looked at his last year, and Dovizioso’s and Simoncelli’s. You can learn things. For example one of my points over the years was to improve braking. Dovizioso is very late braking, and Simoncelli also. Simoncelli also had very high corner speed. So you learn one thing from Casey, one from Andrea, one from Marco – it’s difficult to put it all together what you learn. What can you see? What is the difference between you and Casey? It’s not big things, but we do it in a different way. The difference is the throttle. I would say he is a little bit more controlling the bike with the gas, spinning a little bit more and doing a little bit more aggressive things on the bike than I do. When Lorenzo came and won the title on the bike Rossi had developed, Valentino complained he did it “on my bike”. Do you feel the same? (Laughs) The Honda was very good last year – all the riders could go fast. We made a very good bike. But when Casey came from Ducati he also brought some good ideas – especially for corner entry. I am only a bit sad because we were very late in having this performance from our bike. And now that the job is done, the category changes! Your last seasons have been ruined because of lingering injury. How are you now? Will you be starting the year fit for the first time? My condition is good – strong, and I am okay on the bike. The only thing I have some trouble with is sleeping. I can’t sleep on my side like I want, because my shoulders still have some pain. But it is better than last year. Do the new bigger bikes make more demand on the rider? Have you been doing any special strength training? Sure, the 1000 is more physical. There is more power and more stress on the tyres. By the end of a race it will be spinning and sliding more, so the rider needs to work more hard. But no special training, except what I need to do for my injury recovery. Apart from Casey and the Yamahas, do you think Rossi will be joining you guys up front again, now you’ve seen him at the tests? I didn’t see the Ducati close up yet, but I can see that Valentino looks more comfortable how he is riding. It is not so fast still, but ... Valentino is a Sunday guy. How about the CRT bikes? The Aprilia seems quite good, but the other ones seem quite slow – especially on the straight. It could be a problem. The difference in speed is something you can manage. I am more scared about if there are engine blow-ups. If you are behind when that happens then you can do nothing. It’s understandable you are wary of injury. What can you do to avoid the same problems ... ride more carefully? (Laughs): Perhaps. But when you are racing you need to push the limit. I have to just hope I have some better luck this year. 5 MINUTES WITH DANI PEDROSA Dani Pedrosa, triple 125/250 World Champion and for years the golden hope for Spanish racing, hopes that 2012 will at last be his year. He spoke to MICHAEL SCOTT 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: 5 MINUTES