Pedrosa, who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2018, made his second wildcard appearance of the season at Misano last weekend.
The 31-time MotoGP race winner finished fourth in both the sprint and the grand prix, narrowly missing the podium in each contest.
His performances were met with praise from all of the riders on the grid, with Aprilia’s Espargaro – who struggled to 12th in the GP – noting that Pedrosa’s form makes you question a lot about MotoGP.
However, he also added that it would not be fair to judge the quality of the grid against Pedrosa’s one-off appearances, as “Dani is very special”.
“Dani is awesome,” Espargaro said. “I really like the way he rides. He makes you doubt everything.
“Pedrosa has always been special, he was never a normal rider. He was always one of my favourites and, if he is still in good shape without everything he didn’t like about this championship, everything around him, that now he doesn’t have to put up with it, it shows what he is.
“[He creates] doubts whether Brad Binder is one of the best riders on the grid, or not. Or if the KTM is at the level it shows, or not.
Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Photo by: KTM Images
“You always have to take everything with a grain of salt.
“But just because Dani comes along and does that, it doesn’t mean that the level of the grid is low, because we’re talking about one of the best riders in history.
“It’s not that the level of the current grid is not high; it’s that Dani is very special.
“When I retire next year or the year after, I will be a tester. And I promise you that if I feel like it until I’m 42, I will fight to win. And I’m light-years ahead of Dani [in terms of age].
“Imagine if I were Pedrosa. If I keep training and I’m physically well, and I have a competitive bike in Montmelo, then I will fight to win at 42 years old. And Dani, who is a thousand times better than me, of course he is competitive.”
Pedrosa is not scheduled to make any more wildcard outings in 2023 at present and admitted after Sunday that “I don’t know” if he will do one again in the future.