Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa maintains a slim hope of preventing Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo from clinching the 2010 MotoGP World Championship at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.Pedrosa continues to recover from surgery to plate and screw the left collarbone he broke in a Friday practice crash at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Spaniard left the hospital this past Monday with his left arm in a sling. Though he may be able to ride in Malaysia, he would be at well less than full strength and unlikely to stop Lorenzo’s coronation.Lorenzo will start the weekend with a 69 point lead on Pedrosa, the only rider capable of derailing him. If the Majorcan finishes ninth or better, regardless of where Pedrosa finishes, he’ll take the number one plate. Since Lorenzo hasn’t finished worse than fourth all season, and then only in the past two races, only a crash or mechanical DNF can stop him.Most likely Pedrosa will give the Malaysia race a pass and return the following weekend at Phillip Island. The weather in Malaysia is typically the worst of the year, with boiling temperatures and tropical humidity. Having been nearly sedentary for close to a week, Pedrosa would certainly struggle in the heat.”I am still very stiff in my neck and across the back of my shoulders, so the target is to get back to racing in Australia,” Pedrosa said. “There is a very small possibility of going to Malaysia, but the realistic target is Australia.”I had another check-up today and it shows clearly that the plate on my collarbone is very well fixed and the progress has been good after the operation. My condition has improved over the last two days and I’m doing passive rehabilitation with my physiotherapist at the moment. I am still not able to move the arm by myself, but with massage it’s getting better. It’s a real pity that this happened when we had such a lot of momentum with our results, but we simply have to deal with it.”In Pedrosa’s absence, Andrea Dovizioso will the the lone standard-bearer for the Repsol Honda team. The Italian is coming off a strong second place finish in Japan, where he took the first pole position of his MotoGP career. In Sunday’s race, Dovizioso hounded race winner Casey Stoner for much of the distance, only backing off when he nearly high-sided in the closing laps.”I’m really looking forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix,” Dovi said. “We arrive in a strong condition after not only an important podium finish in Motegi last Sunday, but also an entire race weekend where we were fast and consistent during every session. We made some good progress with the electronics and the machine set-up through the weekend, and so we arrive in Sepang in even better shape than Motegi.”Our performance last weekend was the result of hard work – it was not by chance – and in Malaysia we can do even better. I really like the Sepang race track – it’s one of my favourites and I have had good results in all GP classes, including my first MotoGP podium in 2008. I like Sepang because it is a ‘complete’ circuit with a nice combination of fast and slow sections, and also the circuit is wide so you can use different lines. All in all I’m very confident we can have another strong weekend.”
Pedrosa Likely Out of Malaysia
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.