Pedrosa says ‘unexpected’ MotoGP return pushed by «interesting» testing data

The retired 31-time MotoGP race winner stepped away from full-time racing at the end of 2018 but has made sporadic wildcard outings since joining KTM as a test rider.

Pedrosa raced at the Spanish GP and San Marino GP in 2023, finishing fourth in the latter and seventh in the former in front of a rapturous home crowd.

KTM noted at the start of the season that everything was in place for Pedrosa to wildcard at Jerez again but was waiting for the rider’s green light.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Spanish GP, Pedrosa says it wasn’t something he was expecting to do but «things got a little bit interesting in testing» and prompted a change of plan.

«I’m here at this great GP and looking forward to starting tomorrow,» the three-time MotoGP championship runner-up said.

«I didn’t expect, honestly, to do this one again after last year. But things got a little bit interesting in the testing, so that’s why we chose to do it once more.»

Asked if the «interesting» element was his speed, Pedrosa replied: «Well, the speed is hard to judge when you race alone in testing.

«But we have some items to try, and they are items that are important to try in a more, let’s say, stressful way in order to see what can come out and if we can deal OK with it, because normally in the tests you have all day long to set up things and to modify the bike.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

«So, it’s also with this new format a lot more stressful as we saw last year. So, yes, this is one of the reasons.»

KTM sits second in the manufacturers’ table after three rounds, courtesy of podiums for Brad Binder in Qatar and Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta in Portugal and America.

Pedrosa says it’s hard to know if the updates he is trying will take KTM a step forward, especially as «records are being destroyed» in terms of lap times in 2024 and it’s difficult to compare testing data against this.

«It’s difficult to say from this perspective because when you are alone things are a bit different,» he added when asked if KTM’s updates will offer a clear improvement.

«So, that’s why we want to measure a little bit the feeling this weekend and see how the bike is performing because this year we can see clearly in the first three races the lap times and the race pace is a lot quicker than last year.

«So, we also have to judge that and adapt that to this year because suddenly everybody is almost half a second or more faster than last year.

«Records are being destroyed pretty much everywhere, even if the track conditions were not super perfect, like in Portugal.

«And the race total time is much faster. So, yes, we have some things we would like to try but we have to put this [increase in speeds] into the equation to see if it’s matching.»

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