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MotoGP, Pedrosa: "Acosta surprised me, it's not impossible for him to win in Jerez"

"Pedro is is extra motivation for all the riders. I didn't expect to race here again, as a wild card I can enjoy the weekend more. The boxing match with Lorenzo? I will get some, but I also hope to give some."

MotoGP: Pedrosa:

Almost a year after the last time, Dani Pedrosa is preparing to get back on the KTM RC16, to contest a wild card at the Jerez circuit. A track well known to the "Little Samurai," who was already one of the great protagonists of the Spanish weekend last year, finishing in 6th and 7th place Sprint and Grand Prix.

"I don't know what to say... I'm here for this beautiful Grand Prix and I can't wait to start tomorrow. Honestly, I didn' t expect to participate in this race again after last year, but things got interesting during testing, so we decided to come back," explained the Iberian rider during the classic Thursday meeting with journalists, motivating his participation in this fourth round of the MotoGP season.

"It is difficult to assess speed when you ride alone in testing, however, we have things to try and it is important to test them more intensively let's say, to see what can come out of it," he explained, " Usually during a test you have all day to fine-tune the bike and make changes, whereas this more stressful format, which we experienced last year, is really one of the reasons I'm here.

Elements that could allow KTM to further improve its performance, should they prove up to the task.

"It's hard to say from this perspective because, as I said before, everything is a little bit different when you ride alone, so we wanted to make sure of the feeling during this weekend and see a little bit how the bike will perform, because we clearly saw in these first three races that the lap times and the race pace are much faster than last year, so we have to take that into account and adapt," the 38-year-old stressed , "They're all at least half a second faster than 2023, the records have been shattered pretty much everywhere, even where the conditions weren't optimal, like at Portimao. We have things we want to try, but we have to put them into the equation, to see if they match."

Drawing a balance of these first races of the year, the Austrian manufacturer's test rider can only say he is more amazed by the performance achieved by rookie Pedro Acosta, than by the minor difficulties encountered by the factory riders, Brad Binder and Jack Miller.

"I'm definitely more surprised by Pedro's results. I mean, everyone expected him to do well, but he did extraordinarily well," remarked Pedrosa, who, regarding the South African rider's results, added, "I don't think he's struggling, I think he's satisfied with the bike. Of course, I don't know exactly why he struggled in some races, such as in Portugal, where he crashed, or in Austin, where he couldn't get into Q2 and then got off to a bad start. I don't know the details, but it doesn't matter. Maybe, at some point, you don't get the set-up of the bike right, but I think Pedro, in this aspect, is giving good motivation to all the riders and I think he will do well here."

Asked whether or not he was joking when he said that he hopes Acosta will give him the slipstream in the race, the Spaniard said, "Obviously I was joking on TV, but at the same time it's the truth. He is riding very well and usually you have to help a rookie find the rhythm, but this is not the case. In the Sepang test we had tried to carve out some time to ride together, but Pedro had had a problem with the bike, so I hadn't been able to see much of him: he had followed me for one or two laps, but then I hadn't had a chance to follow him. We'll see if we can spend some time together here and if he'll give me some slipstream as well."

Speaking more specifically about the two-time world champion's performance, Dani can only praise his work.

"He got two podiums in three races. There is not much more to say ," he noted, " Watching him from television, his lines and riding style are a little different from the other riders, and we are happy that he is performing very well. Having a rookie get on the bike without knowing the tires, class, and everything else, and he's immediately up there at the front is good for the team, because it means that our bike is capable of helping talented young riders be in the top positions right away. We are very happy from this point of view, and also with his performance, but it is obvious that the results are also coming because he is very motivated. "

This is precisely why the test rider cannot rule out the possibility that the Spanish rookie can triumph in front of his home crowd: "I couldn't say if he can win here or if it's too early, but based on what we've seen, the progression he's making, it's possible. It's not impossible for him to win. "

Speaking about his return to racing nearly a year after the last time, Pedrosa admitted that he is looking forward to the weekend in Jerez with the same approach as he did in 2023, although not everything for him emotionally is the same as it was in the past.

"Our approach to the weekend, it's the exact same. We want to try to enjoy the weekend or as much as we can anyway. We want to draw the conclusions we can from everything we have to check in the race. So that if they go well, these solutions can also be tried on Monday by the factory riders. As for expectations, I hope we will live up to them," he said. "What I sense most now is that my attitude is very different from when I used to race. In the past I was much more focused and concentrated on my goals, like in a tunnel, whereas now I can widen my gaze a little bit more and enjoy the atmosphere a little bit more, the fact that I am here and also the races. I can experience more of the sensations on and off the track, whereas in the past it was just about racing."

Speaking instead about his upcoming match with Jorge Lorenzo, Dani concluded by saying, "I'm not training yet . It just happened is we'll have to see when he decides to set a date - he smiled - The weight difference? Actually it's something I hadn't thought about. I will certainly take some punches, but I also hope to give them."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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