Pedrosa “almost crying” before first home MotoGP since 2018

KTM MotoGP wildcard Dani Pedrosa says he “almost began to cry” before his first Spanish Grand Prix since 2018 due to the reception he received from riders and fans.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Pedrosa made the second wildcard appearance of his time as a KTM test rider since retiring from full-time competition at the end of 2018 last weekend at Jerez.

Despite not having taken part in a grand prix weekend since 2021, Pedrosa topped FP1 at Jerez, ended Friday third overall, qualified sixth and finished there in the sprint, and was seventh in the grand prix.

Read more: 10 things we learned from the 2023 MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix

Speaking after the grand prix, Pedrosa says he was almost overwhelmed by emotions during the pre-race rider parade due to the support he received from the fans trackside and the riders.

“I give this weekend a 10, because everything went very well,” Pedrosa said.

“On the lap on top of the bus [during the fan parade] I almost began to cry. The reception was incredible, both from the fans and from the other riders.

“I understand that it is difficult to be competing and supporting a rival, but it has been very nice on their part.”

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Under the current regulations, Pedrosa could make two more wildcard appearances in 2023, but currently there are no plans.

“I like to do things well, and behind me I have a super team and a great factory,” Pedrosa added.

“We have been gaining speed over time; analysing our weak points, ironing out aspects that were deeply rooted and that were difficult to change. That has given us a plus this year.

“I am very happy with what we have already done, but we have to give way to the youngsters.

“If we have to race in Misano because we have to continue to evolve the bike, then we will evaluate it. But right now, we don't know.”

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The Spanish GP was Pedrosa’s first experience of the sprint format, while red flags in both contests meant there were four race starts.

The 31-time race winner admits he is “much more rusty” than he used to be and noticed a decline in his “spark” come Sunday.

“Over the years, one is much more rusty than the youngsters,” Pedrosa said.

“In the four starts I did I always lost positions. On Friday I was much fresher, more awake.

“On Saturday I was already a little duller and today I already noticed that I had not the spark of the first day.”

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