Dani Pedrosa’s 2009 Season So Far
Dani Pedrosa’s preparations for the 2009 MotoGP World Championship were severely disrupted when he crashed heavily in the official night test held in Qatar in March, resulting in injuries to his left knee and wrist, both of which required surgery just a month before round one.
Returning to the Losail International Circuit at less than full fitness for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on the second weekend in April Pedrosa was on a damage limitation mission and he might have done better than 11th in the race if it wasn’t for a ‘coming together’ with Alex de Angelis, having qualified down in 14th.
The Catalan rider was back on form in Japan at round two – even if still not at 100% physically – where he brought his RC212V home in third place despite starting in 11th place on the grid.
Adding to his good record on home soil, Pedrosa built on his Japanese rostrum appearance a week later at Jerez, where he held the race lead for 17 laps despite ongoing problems with his left knee and eventually finished second. Maintaining his good form in a complicated wet-dry race at Le Mans next time out, Pedrosa held off his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in the closing stages for third place – and a third successive podium.
However, Pedrosa then hit a slump in results when he crashed out at Mugello having hurt his right hip in practice, rode through the pain in his home race at Barcelona to finish sixth and then crashed out again early in the race at Assen. By this stage he had slipped to fifth in the general standings.
Pedrosa often responds spectacularly to adversity and that is exactly what he did following his Dutch debacle as he stormed to his first victory in more than a year at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.
In Germany two weeks later he was on the podium for the fifth time in 2009, though he was unable to maintain the pace with Fiat Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who also remained well ahead of him in the standings. Pedrosa hunted down the ailing Stoner for third in that race, a goal that he was also pursuing in the championship itself as illness took its toll on the Ducati rider.
Although Pedrosa gained points on Stoner in the Australian’s last race to date this year at the British Grand Prix, where Ducati got their tyre choice all wrong, the Repsol Honda man could only finish ninth on the slippery Donington asphalt, five positions in front of Stoner. The race also saw a first ever MotoGP victory for Pedrosa’s colleague Dovizioso and a first podium of the year for Colin Edwards, as both riders closed up behind him in the standings.
Pedrosa’s inconsistency has continued in the last three rounds, with two good podiums at Brno and Misano sandwiching a disappointing tenth place at Indianapolis, where he crashed on lap four when leading a race which he started on pole – forcing him to remount and scrap for as many points as possible.
Stoner’s recent absence has allowed Pedrosa to move up to third overall, though just seven points separate the pair as the Aussie returns to action at Estoril to fight with the Spaniard and the rest of the grid for the remaining four rounds.
The last Grand Prix at Misano also saw Pedrosa’s contract with Repsol Honda renewed for 2010 – meaning he will ride alongside Dovizioso on a factory RC212V again next year.