Dani Pedrosa says he won’t be relying on the return of factory Honda teammate Casey Stoner to help him capture a maiden MotoGP world title in 2012. The Spaniard got his title tilt back on track with a crucial win in yesterday’s Motorland Aragon race. But with main rival Jorge Lorenzo collecting an easy second, the deficit in the championship chase remains a massive 33 points with just four races remaining.
After his title hopes took a battering with a controversial first lap exit in Misano last month, Pedrosa’s third win in four races did see him recover five points to Lorenzo. But the factory Yamaha rider hasn’t finished outside of the top two in the 13 races he’s got the checkered flag in. And it seems the only rider who could potentially take vital points from the 2010 world champion is Stoner.
The reigning world champion is still recovering from the serious ankle injury he suffered in a qualifying crash in Indianapolis in mid-August and there is no confirmed date for his return to action. Pedrosa though said it was unimaginable for him to contemplate asking the Australian to help his challenge when he is fit to return to his factory RC213V.
Pedrosa said: “You win a championship because you are overall better than the others, not because you get any help from anyone. Casey is a winner and I would not ask him for anything like this. If it happens because the races finish like this it is good, but it can also happen in the other way. We are teammates and both winners and if he comes back it will because he wants to win the last races of his career.”
Dani Pedrosa (26) put the bad memories of Misano behind him after outpacing Jorge Lorenzo (99) for the win at Aragon.
Pedrosa said he had tried to put his Misano disaster out of his mind to focus on getting back to winning ways in Spain. But the task had not been easy because of the intrigue into how it all went so horribly wrong in Misano when he was caught up in a fiasco on the start line.
He added: “All the interviews before this race focused on what happened in Misano and this is not so good to keep looking ahead. This is in the past and I want to leave it there. In the race I had good concentration and I followed Jorge for the first few laps and then passed him for the lead. I made a small gap and was able to manage it until the end of the race. It is important to manage the tires here because they suffer a lot on this track and towards the end with the spinning it was hard to keep the lap times. It felt strange in some part of the race because I was so focused I almost forgot it was a race and I was just riding but about four laps from the end I decided to slow down a little bit.”
Jonathan Rea Satisfied with Seventh
Jonathan Rea declared himself satisfied to finish his second MotoGP appearance in seventh position at the Motorland Aragon, but admitted his inexperience with the level of sophisticated electronics had prevented him from challenging for the top six. Rea finished in a lonely seventh but after finishing 43 seconds behind race winner Lorenzo in Misano, he was happy to have reduced the gap in Aragon to 32 seconds behind victorious Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa.
“I need to work more on understanding the electronics when the tire goes off,” said Rea in response to the question of where he could most improve aboard the RC213V.
Rea said his second appearance as Casey Stoner’s injury replacement had given him the chance to build up his experience on the RC213V, but understanding how to get the best out of the electronics was still the biggest area in which he has to improve in the future.
“I need to work more on understanding the electronics when the tire goes off. For me I was riding a lot against the traction control and it was slowing the bike down too much. With the torque of the bike I need to look at how to maximize the exit of the corner because for me I was trying to remain inside the wall of traction control. If you see the styles of the other guys riding the Honda they are spinning the bike at the apex quite hard, picking it up and accelerating out. I’d need to work on that if I came back. Electronically these bikes are so advanced and that’s the area where I have got a lot to learn because our system we use in Superbike is nowhere near the level of this. That’s where we need to pull our socks up over there, but I am glad I know this because now we can improve for 2013 with my team.”
Rea experimented a lot with traction control in the 23-lap race and he admitted he had got a bit confused, with the strategy required in MotoGP the complete opposite to what he used to in World Superbikes on the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR.
Jonathan Rea had a bit of trouble acclimating to the MotoGP bike, but he still finished seventh at Aragon.
“In World Superbikes during a race normally I would flip the traction control to have more control. You are trying to save the tire for the end of the race but in MotoGP it works the opposite way where you have to reduce the traction control more and let the bike spin more because the engine is slowing the bike down too much. Around halfway distance I took a lot of traction control off the bike, but then I was sliding around too much so I put it back on and then I thought I’m going no faster so I just took it off and let it spin. In the end I finished the race on a low setting but it is the opposite way to Superbike and it was hard to get it into my head. I was confused because I knew what way I should go but the lap time difference wasn’t a lot and I didn’t understand if it was better or worse. My race was a bit inconsistent and sometimes I would miss the apex or run wide but it was because I was trying different things with my style to learn.”
Rea said the biggest difference between the RC213V and the CBR1000RR was the level of electronic control and he added: “Electronically in MotoGP the possibilities are endless and with all the wet sessions I’ve not been able to fully understand exactly what happens when the tire really goes down. In qualifying in Misano and here you don’t have time to put 20 laps on a tire to understand what the traction control is doing while you are fighting for a grid position. I have a lot to learn. You can see with our strategy in Superbike that with a system that isn’t that sophisticated I can still be quite competitive. But here the electronics is a huge part because you have such a strong engine that you need electronics to be able to finish the race otherwise you have no grip left on the tire. You can’t teach this without doing race distance and if I was to do it again I’d spend a lot more time on old tires.”
Rea finished just over four seconds behind Gresini Honda rider Alvaro Bautista but said he never felt like he was going to close down on the Spaniard to battle for his first top six in the premier class.
He added: “To take that amount off him with four laps to go it is not really realistic. During the race I exhausted all the options with electronics. I was playing a lot with traction control settings and mapping and engine brake changes and to be honest it got to the point where I was confused and I had to just open the throttle and do my best. It was one of those things that a race can teach you when the tire grip and fuel load drops down. For a huge part of the race I was confused whether I was doing the right things with the buttons but it is another top 10 position. The gap was closing to Alvaro but I was content where I was to bring it home.”