Plenty of Pain, Not Much Gain For Pedrosa

Henny Ray Abrams | June 12, 2009

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finished the first day of practice for his home Grand Prix not certain whether he could race on Sunday.Pedrosa is one of several MotoGP riders, and the most successful, to come from the area around the Circuit de Catalunya, site of Sunday’s Grand Prix. The Spaniard’s hopes of racing for a victory were dashed at the Italian Grand Prix. First came a near highside that cracked his femur where it attaches to the hip, as well as damaging a tendon. Then followed a crash in the wet/dry race, which did no further damage, but did him no favors either.Just over an hour before Friday’s practice Pedrosa was in the medical center getting a pain-killing injection that would last four or five hours. On Saturday, with morning practice and afternoon qualifying, he said he might need two.Asked when the pain was worst, he said, “All the time. When I’m in a right corner and leaning and then change direction and use the muscles around my hip and then when I’m on the left side you hold the tank with your leg.” The pain wasn’t as bad in Mugello because it was so soon after the accident, “but here today I felt a good improvement from the pain-killer compared to Mugello and this is something that gives me motivation for tomorrow and Sunday.

“But I still have one more hour with the pain-killer, so after an hour I will be again in the real situation. It lasts around four, five hours, so maybe tomorrow I will need two.”

As to whether he was fit enough to race, he said, “Always it has to have a meaning if you can really do a good result and if you can be strong on the bike. To go on the highway it is very easy, but when you have to be fighting or control the bike you have to be strong enough.”His thoughts about not riding were that “sometimes this is an option, but it is always a difficult decision [especially given the home crowd expectations]. “Of course,” he said about taking that into account, “but sometimes you have to be clever enough to say yes, now it’s time to stop or not. It’s a difficult situation.”The home crowd wasn’t Pedrosa’s only incentive. Honda had brought a modified chassis that he hoped would provide greater stability under braking. But a problem with that machine limited him to only two laps, so he had no comment.”Something was wrong in the bike and I couldn’t use it, so I continued with the normal bike.”Having only one motorcycle, not being able to test a revised one, and being in constant pain added up to 14th in first practice.”It was not easy today, not my best day,” he said. “I wasn’t fast enough, I wasn’t strong enough on the bike and today I didn’t feel powerful on the bike. Just one-and-a-half hours before the practice I was in the medical center getting an injection. Apart from the pain, I had not my best day.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.