Five months after his clavicle injury, Dani Pedrosa finally managed to get on track with the other MotoGP riders: the Spaniard, who spent the end of winter and almost the entire spring struggling with rehabilitation, made his public debut in his new role as official KTM test driver yesterday, during the Montmelò tests organized by IRTA after the Barcelona GP.
This is the first time that we have seen Dani take part in an official Top Class test session on the RC16: the former Honda HRC rider had not only missed the pre-season tests at Sepang and Losail, but also those held last May in Jerez, precisely because of the need to completely heal the injuries he suffered before getting back on the bike.
Dani, who in September will be one of the protagonists of the Barry Sheene Memorial at the Goodwood Revival, is actually still recovering, and for this reason he decided to face the Catalan tests with some caution. Forcing and looking for time, on the other hand, are not even tasks for a tester, who is instead called upon to experiment with new technical solutions and to focus on tuning the bike.
At Montmelò Pedrosa completed a total of 51 laps, a total divided into several sessions of about 5 laps each: his fastest lap, a time trial of 1:41.824 that saw him in last position in the final standings, has a gap of 2.8 seconds from the top, ie the best time of the day set by Maverick Viñales.
The Spaniard didn’t make any statements after the test, but it was Yamaha’s compatriot who launched statements of esteem for Dani after meeting him on the track: “I saw him well enough, clean, in a trajectory… he will certainly do a good job with the KTM,” said Viñales. Alex Rins, who praised Pedrosa’s ability to get the bike up quickly out of corners, was also of the same opinion: “The truth is that he has a very particular riding style, especially the way he comes out of corners… none of us pulls the bike up like that, so fast”.
Marc Marquez, his former team-mate at the time of the common HRC team militancy, said he was almost disoriented to see him riding a bike other than the RC213V: “We found ourselves close to each other on the track a couple of times, but always in and out of the pit lane” commented the World Champion “But you notice him, because he has his own way of riding: you recognize him immediately, also because he is very minute, but it made me feel strange to see him dressed in KTM colours”. “I didn’t meet him on the kerbs” explained Jorge Lorenzo, his replacement on the second official Honda. “His job is to improve the KTM, transform it and make it competitive thanks to his experience… I think he will succeed, which he will do very well. It’s clear that after so many months of standing still and with injuries that still bother his rhythm can not be immediately exceptional, especially on a bike that he does not yet know. But his job is not to do the fastest lap or win races: his job is to use his experience to help the team fine-tune the bike”.