The long-awaited official confirmation that Dani Pedrosa will be returning at Mugello comes in the team preview of the Italian Grand Prix, where he will doubtless face intense questioning from the media, and especially the Spanish press. Below is the text of the press release:
Repsol Honda Team back to full strength with Dani Pedrosa returning in Mugello
This weekend, the Repsol Honda Team tackles the Grand Prix of Italy, in the eighth round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, in good spirits. Not only spurred on by the good results achieved in recent races by Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, but also by the welcomed return of Dani Pedrosa to the competition.
With his second position at Assen, Casey Stoner has extended his lead in the Championship to 28 points over Jorge Lorenzo, while Andrea Dovizioso, third in Holland, confirms his third position in the overall standings and has reduced his gap to Lorenzo to only 9 points.
After two surgeries to fix the broken right collarbone suffered in the Grand Prix of France and having missed three consecutive races, Dani Pedrosa returns very motivated at the Mugello circuit, the scene where he celebrated his first of four victories last season. Dani will be hoping to return to his fine form he was in before the injury, with three podiums and one win in the first three races.
His team mates are in a very good shape and the Repsol Honda Team has continued to reap success during the absence of the Spaniard, with 3 consecutive wins and a second place for Stoner, and 3 podiums for Dovizioso.
Located in the beautiful region of Tuscany, the Mugello circuit is a favourite among all the riders and a must see event for all fans. It's one of the fastest tracks in the world, with 15 corners and a top speed of 350km/h achievable down the long start/finish straight.
This year with new asphalt, the action on track will extend to Monday for another day of testing for all the MotoGP Teams. The Repsol Honda Team will continue development of its 800cc machine.
CASEY STONER – World Championship Position: 1st with 136 points
"I'm really looking forward to Mugello especially after a difficult weekend in Assen where I was extremely happy to have finished second in a very difficult race. Last year we didn't get the best result but I've always enjoyed this circuit and I think this year we can expect to be quite competitive. From what I've heard, the new surface is a lot smoother and a lot faster which will make Mugello an even better circuit from what it already was! I've been excited about coming here to try it out! I'm hoping to have a good race and score important points for the Championship, but we need to keep our heads down and continue working hard".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 3rd with 99 points
"I'm very curious to go to Mugello and ride there with the new asphalt. Those who tested there said that it's unbelievably smooth. Mugello is one of the most technical, demanding and beautiful tracks in the MotoGP calendar, so I'm sure that without the bumps it will become one of the best circuits in the world. I'm happy to race in the Italian GP at this particular moment of the season: we are third in the Championship and we arrive after two successive podium finishes. We are competitive and determined to get another good result at my home GP. We have been consistent in dry and wet conditions and the team is working really well so I'm confident. Last year i was on the podium and the feeling up there is amazing, not comparable with another podium finish so I really want to repeat it. I hope there will be many spectators and that we can put on a good show! Mugello is always a speci al event, I enjoy every minute of it, starting with the journey to reach the Tuscan track via il Muraglione pass, a historical route for bikers!".
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 6th with 61 points
"After missing three races, I'm happy to be back in Mugello. During this period I've been very focused on my recovery and after the second operation I have improved a lot. I'm really looking forward to riding the bike, getting into the groove again and to be as competitive as I was before the injury. It's been difficult being out of competition, but that was the situation and I couldn't do more. I have been in contact with my team during this time and I know they also look forward to getting back to normal. Together we will work to regain the highest level and fight to win races again. Mugello is a difficult circuit, very technical and demanding, and I know it will not be easy for us, but last year we scored our first win of the season there and we would like to get a good result".