Dani Pedrosa has laughed off suggestions he could mount a full-time return to the MotoGP World Championship following his remarkable top six finish in the Spanish MotoGP Sprint Race at Jerez.
More than four years after Pedrosa last competed in the premier class on a full-time basis, this weekend's wild-card outing in Spain has proved the 37-year old has lost none of his skill and talent on the factory KTM RC16.
Fastest of all in P1 on Friday, Pedrosa went on to qualify in sixth, a position he'd hold to the flag as he participated in his first-ever MotoGP Sprint Race.
On a landmark day for KTM as a whole, Brad Binder swept to Sprint Race glory - his second of the season - while Jack Miller in third signalled the first time the Austrian manufacturer has held two of the top three spots at the end of a MotoGP race.
With Pedrosa - who ended his 13-year tenure, both in MotoGP and Repsol Honda, to become KTM's development rider - largely credited as one of the primary reasons the firm has mounted such a competitive turn in recent years, he was quizzed by the media over whether his performance this weekend could lure him back to the sport full-time.
“No, no, I’m fine," he confirmed. "I’m very happy. I’m enjoying very much what I’m doing.”
“I was sixth, but I can see I was close, I can see [KTM factory team-mates Brad Binder and Jack Miller] one and two, fighting at the end.
“Jack, I don’t know what happened, but he went third. Two bikes on the podium, my bike very close, it’s very rewarding.”
What does Valentino Rossi think of Pedrosa's Spanish MotoGP efforts?
In addition to Pedrosa on track, this weekend's Spanish MotoGP also sees Valentino Rossi make one of his first appearances at a MotoGP event since retiring from two-wheel racing at the end of the 2021 season.
Present to support his championship leading Mooney VR46 Racing Ducati team, Rossi was asked what he made of his former rival being so competitive on his return to action.
"Dani was very good this weekend, not riding so much during the year is not easy,” he told Crash.net.
“After all he has always been one of the strongest. Among other things he is much younger than me, he is 37 years old."