Dani Pedrosa has returned to MotoGP action at the top of his game after finishing the three-day winter test at Sepang just one tenth of a second behind team-mate Marc Marquez.
Pedrosa, who finished the 2014 campaign in a disappointing fourth place, showed a glimpse of his true race pace at the test, completing a 20-lap race simulation in the afternoon of the final day with 10 laps under 2min .01sec.
The Spaniard felt he could have gone even quicker, but for a mistake on his last lap.
He said: “The first test went very well. The last day we made a complete race simulation, despite the heat there. The track was really good on Friday morning and the lap times came down by a lot. I made a small mistake on my best lap. Still, we are very pleased with how the first test of the year went.”
Pedrosa, who has more podiums for the Japanese manufacturer than any other rider with a total of 135 – 94 in the premier class – believes he is benefitting from having a new crew chief and mechanics on his side of the garage.
He said: “We are still at the beginning of the year and we don’t have the same agility as when you’re already settled in, but the working conditions and attitude have been very good. I had already worked with Denis [Pazzaglini] in 250cc, but he also has experience in MotoGP. With Pedro [Calvet] we had not worked together before, but he has a character that I really like. Daniel [Petzold] was previously in Moto2 and will need time to adjust to the amount of information required in MotoGP, but he has a lot of learning ability. Both the team and Honda believe in him a lot. I am very happy with the new role Ramon [Aurín] has; I think he is doing a very good job and the team are very happy with him, as there is a good dynamic there. All the changes have been for the better. At the first test we took some positive steps forward and we have greatly improved. The mechanics and new technicians have done a great job and that motivates me a lot.”