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Out-of-this-world Dani Pedrosa evokes ‘alien’ status to school KTM regulars at Misano

Dani Pedrosa, KTM Factory Racing, KTM RC16, 2023 MotoGP, San Marino MotoGP, Misano, action [Gold & Goose]

Dani Pedrosa proved he has lost none of his speed in racing conditions since retiring from full-time competition nearly five years ago as he came to within just a few tenths of a shock return to the podium in the San Marino MotoGP.

Competing in only his third MotoGP event since exiting Repsol Honda at the end of the 2018 MotoGP season in favour of a test and development role with KTM, Pedrosa mixed it with the front runners throughout the Misano weekend.

While Pedrosa’s presence in Italy is explained more by his participation in the post-weekend test on Monday, he was straight up to speed on the KTM RC16, out-qualifying and out-performing both Brad Binder and Jack Miller in each race.


Finishing fourth in Saturday’s Sprint, Pedrosa followed it up with an identical result in the full-length feature, the Spaniard even getting onto the tail of Pecco Bagnaia to mount a late challenge for the podium.

Though he’d miss out on what would have been his first MotoGP podium since Valencia 2017, the 37-year old was pleased with his pace and the direction of development for the RC16.

“I had a few problems in the first laps because the rear tire wasn’t heating up quick enough for me, especially on the left side and I had a few scares. I had to be patient and started to build the rhythm after three-four laps. 

“After Brad crashed I saw the group ahead was not getting away from me, so I thought ‘let’s give everything and try to catch them’. When I was very close I had another ‘moment’ and nearly went flying. The gap grew and shrunk until Pecco was struggling on the last laps. I had another go because the bike was working really well. 

“Overall, close to the podium again but I want to thank the team for all their work. I’m happy. It was great to be here and to have the opportunity to go for the podium. 

“I don’t think I’ve been quite so pleased with a 4th place! Our work yesterday and today has helped us to learn a lot and to continue improving.”

Considered arguably the greatest MotoGP rider never to win a premier class title, Pedrosa’s raw pace on his guest outing made for a rather humbling weekend for Binder and Miller. 

Though Binder showed pace with his run to fifth in the Sprint before crashing out of the full-length race from fourth, Miller was outside the top nine in the former before crashing out of the latter.

“I got a semi-decent start and was doing my best to stick with the group in front,” Miller said. “I felt like my pace was getting better and better as the race went on but then I was sucker-punched. 


“I couldn’t do too much about it. The test tomorrow should be an important day for us and has come at a good time. 

“I will be happy to spend more time on the bike to understand some things and get some confidence back.”

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