Q & A with Dani Pedrosa

After a tricky, injury-blighted, first half of the season, Dani Pedrosa has made great strides recently, including taking Honda's first victory of 2009 at Laguna Seca

Q & A with Dani Pedrosa

Before practice for the British Grand Prix got underway, he sat down with the media, including AUTOSPORT, to discuss his year so far.

Q. Are you training again, or are the injuries still too bad to do that?

Dani Pedrosa: I'm starting to. The knee was already more-or-less okay after Le Mans. I started training then, then in Mugello I got another injury on my hip. So then everything was off again.

Q. How frustrating has this year been for you given the bike is beginning to show potential?

DP: I mean from the end of last season it was already tough, because it was then that I started to have my knee problem. So I spent the whole winter trying to get my knee back [into shape], but it was every time worse. So it took too long to get it good and then sometimes some things, and they always happened just as I was getting fit so I mean it was a long time. But now it seems I am okay but just not very strong.

Q. Do you feel as if important opportunities are passing you by because of the injuries?

DP: Of course I didn't make any improvement on the bike over the winter, of course I didn't keep up also in the first races. I was just able to ride the bike at the weekend and trying to get the maximum out of the package, me and the bike, and that was all. I couldn't concentrate on improving the bike, but since Assen, we are trying some items, and I hope now until the end of the season we can keep working and improving.

Q. Are you happy with the improvement from HRC?

DP: I'm happy because there are new items coming up and this is a sign that they are thinking and that they are trying. But on the track we are still have not made the progress that we expected. So maybe we have to find a setting or try other things.

Q. So were you expectations a little bit higher after Laguna Seca?

DP: In Germany my expectations were higher and I hoped I was going to fight with them for the victory but in the middle of the race I dropped too much so it was a little bit disappointing. But next time it looks like I will have to be a lot more on top of the situation, because I tried to adapt during the race to avoid this, but it was not easy it took me some laps, and that was when I closed the gap.

Q. Quite a lot of times this year you have said the bike is not 100 per cent and you are not either. How close are you to 100 per cent and how much more work needs to be done?

DP: That is very hard to answer. How can you touch a moving target? Where is the limit? There is always something you really have to improve but of course to be... I think we are not so far away. We are getting there. But of course when you constantly have a good feeling and get good results you improve, even if your bike stays at the same performance.

Q. Where do you think you are at the moment. Do you think your confidence is growing?

DP: I think we are getting back to the good feelings and to that point. If we can keep in that area then I think we can be good. It's like Yamaha is now.

Q. So are you in the fight. Is it possible to fight with Yamaha and Ducati every weekend now?

DP: I think we are getting to this point now yes. We just have to keep pushing, trying to be in the fight. And if we can keep it up we will be there for the fight every weekend. But right now we have to focus very much on practice and make the most of it and then if we can reach a good set-up then we have a good chance on Sunday. But if we miss some practice, or we don't make a good job, then it is more difficult.

Q. So for you at the moment it is about staying on the bike for the whole weekend?

DP: Yes.

Q. Is it in your mind that you don't want to crash again and pick up another injury?

DP: Of course I don't want to crash anymore but this you cannot control so you have to push. But when I was not fit, and I was injured but still riding, of course I was trying not to crash because then the damage can be multiplied.

Q. What is possible for this weekend for you?

DP: The target is fight to make the best result.

Q. Does the weather bother you at all?

DP: Well it is always something you have in mind because you always have to adapt to the conditions. If it is raining then you have to set it up differently as well. You have to be fast. I know I can be fast in the dry but I also know I have to improve my racing in the wet. In fact last year I was not so bad at the end of the season but then after all these problems I had, I lost a little bit of my feeling for the wet so now I need to get it back.

Q. So it would actually help you to have some time in the rain?

DP: Yeah of course! When it is raining and try and stay out for more laps during practice instead of staying in the pits.

Q. What makes the difference at the starts, you always have fabulous starts?

DP: It looks good in the last few races but I don't know. The starts are a part of the race also and this is something we have that is good. Maybe we are not so good in the rain, or in other points, but in the starts we are good.

Q. Is it you or the bike?

DP: I don't know, other riders also have my bike!

Q. Are you much closer to Yamaha in understanding the Bridgestones? Do you comfortable with the tyres now?

DP: Yes we feel comfortable, but we have some weak points. These are important because it depends on the lay-out whether you have more or less problems. When we have them it is not easy to find the limit. It is always a compromise. We would like to improve that area and make the tyres a better fit on the bike.

Q. Is that what you mean when you say the bike isn't 100 per cent?

DP: Yes absolutely.

Q. Do you think that the one tyre rule has made this championship closer?

DP: This year it looks like we have better racing. Last year we had more of a gap between the bikes. It looks like we have a little bit more fight now.

Q. Do you think despite the gap you really have a chance to fight for the championship?

DP: I think it will be difficult. It looks like the two guys from Yamaha are focused on the fight, and they don't look like they are going to make mistakes.

Q. Then again that is how you looked at Laguna Seca...

DP: Yeah it is possible. But they were second and third so you don't take many points away! The championship is long but it is always the same four riders in the top four places. But anyway the point is to be racing the best we can and try to win some more races and try to save our season.

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