After a brave race in front of his home crowd at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa spoke to a small group of journalists. During the debrief, he spoke about the nerve damage and weakness he has suffered after his broken collarbone, which caused him to fade in the second half of the race, and he also talks about why he will be running the #26 plate again next season, despite being entitled to use the #2, as he has done in the past. Here's what Pedrosa had to say:
Q: That was an amazing race for someone who was injured, especially those first corners. How did you manage?
Dani Pedrosa: I don't know, I was fresh, I have power then. I was on, on for the race and I started well. I did the first corner not so bad. And then I just looked for the space, and I was aggressive. After that, I was there, in the top area, I was not really aware of my possibilities. So I was just pushing and I see I could keep Casey's rhythm. Maybe he was on the wrong tire choice, that was my feeling, looking from behind.
I was there for some laps when I was fresh. I did the fastest lap, so this is not so bad, even though if you look at the practice, I was never on the top, so. It was very impressive to be up front. And until I had this weakness, I became tired. I could not hold my body in the right way, in braking, when I tried to keep my body in the right position, I just...
Q: Okay, you can't hold yourself up on the bike?
DP: Yes, so I start to brake earlier, earlier, earlier, I start to lose power lap by lap. And then I start to go down with the rhythm.
Q: What was harder, because at first you were battling with Casey, with Jorge, Valentino, and then you lost such a little bit, and then you had Andrea, Marco, Ben all come by as well. By the time that Andrea caught up with you, you had already lost a lot of power?
DP: Awful! I was suffering like hell, because at that point I couldn't fight with them. I didn't fight. I just was there and trying to be lap by lap the same, not to lose too much, and I knew this group will pass me and go by. I just was trying to get my pace running. I was braking so early, I could not fight and do anything.
Q: What was worse, losing the strength or did you lose the feeling again?
DP: I lose the feeling, the strength, it is everything together, you know. It comes lap by lap together, and finally I just couldn't grab the bars. In the acceleration I couldn't grab full throttle, because my hand was slipping off the handle bar, so I had to really struggle to get the 7th place. The first laps were amazing and I am very happy with this.
Q: Is it better now, because I remember last week when we spoke, about one and a half hours after the race it was still a problem
DP: It still the same, I think.
Q: So now, do you think on Tuesday, you will be fit enough to test ride?
DP: If I can do short runs, 4 or 5 laps, and then go to rest in between the runs, I can do some tests. Maybe not full test, like I would do, but some tests I can do. Let's see how I react after this race, and how I am tomorrow, and how I am on Tuesday, but for some laps I can try. I am not sure, I have to wait.
Q: Do you know what number you are going to run next year?
Q: 26, because you've had 2, and you've had 3 in the past, but you are sticking to 26 this year?
DP: Yes, I will, because I like, and my fans like, and I really get identified with this, it brings everyone closer together...
Q: Historically it was different, but now it's changing: Valentino never takes the number 1, now Jorge isn't sure he is going to take the number 1. Before it was always part of the honor.
DP: For me, it has been. I mean, when I was growing up watching races, I like it when somebody finish second, and use number 2. Or you know, you can see in the next season the number 1, number 2 and number 3 fighting in the race, it is like you said, honor, you know? And that is why I did it in the past. But nobody follows this way, everybody follows more the merchandising side and keeping the fans together, so the thing is changing a little bit.
Q: Do you think that commercial pressures have become too strong to...
DP: It is also when you go to a new house and you see a car with a sticker of 46, you know, he's a fan of Rossi, and you see number 2, number 5, you don't know. You see yellow, 46, it means he's a Rossi fan. I think it is great also, but I like also when I see videos with number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4, fighting there.