Jerez MotoGP Friday Round Up: Pedrosa Surprises, Aprilias Dominate, And Why Horsepower Is Not Yamaha's Biggest Problem
Though it is always a pleasure to have wildcard riders to spice up the grid, you expect them to add a bit of color, and then ride around in the vain hope of a top ten. What you don't expect – at least, not since the demise of the 500s at the beginning of the century – is for a wildcard rider to turn up at a circuit and top the first session of practice immediately. Shades of Norick Abe at Suzuka in 1994.
I had been tipped about Dani Pedrosa by someone who was at the private MotoGP test at Jerez before Austin. Word was he was fast, and looking determined. That tip proved to be golden, the KTM test rider, entered as a wildcard at Jerez, ending the morning session of practice as fastest, and third fastest overall on the first day.
"Very happy and a good day," Pedrosa said in his usual understated way. "Unexpected obviously. Happy for the team and for the fans. It was a surprise, this morning especially. I had a good feeling. It is my first ’36 in this track. I am happy to improve the lap time with my age! It’s nice."