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Spanish MotoGP | Dani Pedrosa stuns rivals, is a 'legend, f***ing fast' at Jerez

There was no denying which rider came away from the opening day of Practice for the 2023 Spanish MotoGP at Jerez, with Dani Pedrosa proving the talk of MotoGP up and down the paddock on Friday.

The Spaniard - considered arguably the greatest MotoGP rider never to win the MotoGP World Championship - made a superb comeback to competition as a wild-card on the factory KTM, setting the third fastest time of the day and leading the timesheets after P1.

This weekend sees Pedrosa make only his second wild-card appearance with KTM since joining the manufacturer as its test and development rider in the wake of his retirement at the end of the 2018 MotoGP season.


The Spaniard spent all of his 13 seasons in MotoGP with Repsol Honda and has only come out of retirement once since when he raced with KTM at the Styrian MotoGP in 2021 and brought home a top ten finish.

However, he has a particularly excellent record at Jerez and with one of only two in-season tests taking place on Monday, he has decided to join the ranks once more.

On a circuit where he even has a corner named after him, Pedrosa was the man to beat in P1, with his benchmark carrying him through to an automatic Q2 spot for the first time on a KTM. It means he is guaranteed a spot on the front four rows for his Sprint Race debut on Saturday.

"It was an amazing feeling, for sure! And for the team, as well. And for the fans,” he told reporters, including Crash.net.

“I never expected it, it was a surprise! [Our expectations remain the same], we have our marks and that’s where we will stick to. That’s it.”

Dani Pedrosa, KTM, Brad Binder, KTM RC16, Spanish MotoGP, action, Jerez

Dani Pedrosa rolls back the years, rivals lavish praise

Stacking up against a new generation of rivals this weekend, they were quick to praise the 37-year old, even if they weren't surprised by his form.

“I don’t think the bike is the reason that Dani is doing so well," said team-mate Jack Miller, in his inimitable way. "People forget he is a three-time world champion and runner-up three times in the MotoGP class. He is a Legend and has a corner on this f**king track named after him!"

Alex Marquez - whose brother Marc partnered Pedrosa at Repsol Honda between 2013 and 2018 - was similarly impressed.

“People act surprised when he does well but he has been here testing, he has plenty of laps on the bike and there is a reason why he is an [official MotoGP] Legend.”


Pedrosa's presence at Jerez isn't just to give him a competitive try-out, with his KTM RC16 sporting a revised rear tail-wing section that is squarer than the triangle solution used by Miller and team-mate Brad Binder.

CLICK HERE for all the Practice, Qualifying and RACE Results from the Spanish MotoGP

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