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Rossi: Pedrosa would've been hard to beat

Rossi at Barcelona, Catalunya 2008Valentino Rossi reckons that he would have had trouble beating Dani Pedrosa today even if he had qualified better yesterday.

The Repsol Honda rider dominated the MotoGP of Catalunya at Barcelona by leading every single lap and opened a gap as wide as eight seconds at one point, while his Fiat Yamaha rival made a great recovery from ninth on the grid to finish second.

"That's impossible to say," Rossi told Italia1 television when asked if he could have beaten Pedrosa from a better grid slot.

"I'd need to re-watch the race on TV, but my feeling from the bike is that it would have been difficult. However, if I had started with him, maybe I would have managed to prevent him from opening a gap and trouble him a bit, and then it would have been a bit more difficult for him perhaps."

Pedrosa started the race from second behind the Casey Stoner, but overtook him before the first corner and by the end of the first lap the Ducati Marlboro also lost second place to Andrea Dovizioso's JiR Honda thanks to a mistake by the Australian.

The reigning champion fought with Rossi for second throughout the race and ultimately had to concede the position to the Italian, who thinks that his rival should have prevented Pedrosa with running away with the win in the early stages.

"That's what Stoner was supposed to do," said Rossi, "but in the first laps he did at least one or two small mistakes and went wide, leaving Dani to go alone.

"We know if Pedrosa is ahead he's like a computer and makes no mistakes. In any case he's gone really quick today, while I had expected Stoner to be a bit more difficult to beat, instead that was Pedrosa."

Stoner and Rossi also battled for position last year at Barcelona, even though it was for first place then. With the former winning that fight, the latter was asked if he had been afraid of a repeat this time around.

"Yes, absolutely," Rossi replied. "I immediately tried to get ahead and open a gap. It would have been better, but I didn't manage to. Casey caught back with me and overtook me and I thought: 'now let's take revenge from last year'.

"Things go a bit better for us this year, especially because with my Yamaha I can follow the Ducati, in contrast with last year, when I would lose a lot.

"In any case Casey is a guy that goes quick, he's tough, he never gives up. In the end I knew I could go a little bit quicker. I wasn't totally sure but I went for it, and I did two perfect laps under 1:43.

"I'm very happy with my race today, because when I started ninth last year I'd end up 12th, or I would crash, or it would break down, while this time I finished second."

Seven-time-champion Rossi, who won the previous three races, still leads the championship, but the gap to second-placed Pedrosa has now shrunk to seven points, while Stoner is fourth, 50 points adrift.

"Well done to him, he's five points closer to me now," Rossi said of Pedrosa. "I'm not happy about that, but with the way qualifying went, to start ninth and finish second is a great result for me. These 20 points are extremely important for a championship like this one.

"I'm happy, it's not bad, we come from three consecutive victories, so a second place is fine. Congratulations to Dani, who's seven points behind. We are edging away a bit from (Jorge) Lorenzo and Stoner, who however isn't out of the battle."

Rossi's rookie teammate Lorenzo, who did not take part in today's race after a head concussion on Friday, is third in the championship with just two points more than Stoner.

Rossi's team will stay at the Montmelo track tomorrow for the post-race test, where they will do more Bridgestone tyre testing.

"First of all we got beaten soundly by Michelin today, so we can improve," concluded Rossi. "In the last three races the tyres were perfect, while today there's something to fix. But we're happy because we're testing here tomorrow, so it will be an important day."

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