Dani's big day arrives.
Dani Pedrosa's spectacular racing career reaches a climax on Sunday, when the three times world champion starts his very first MotoGP race, at the 2006 season opening Spanish Grand Prix.
20-year-old Pedrosa entered the 125cc World Championship in 2001, won his first three grands prix in 2002 - and has gone on to clinch a world title for the past three consecutive seasons (first in 125cc and then two in 250cc).
However, such achievements are regarded almost as preparation for the premier MotoGP class, whom Dani enters with the factory Repsol Honda team this season. It's a big step up, but Pedrosa's strong progress in winter testing means expectations are sky high for the talented rider from Barcelona - who finished the final pre-season test, also at Jerez, as both the top Honda and Michelin rider.
But, despite such form, don't expect any extravagant claims of glory from the #26 ahead of this weekend's race:
"I'm longing to begin the season and Jerez is the best place to do it," said Dani. "The atmosphere is very special, particularly for Spanish riders. It has been a very long pre-season and we are happy with our performance. The most positive aspect is that we've been able to complete basically our winter test programme and that allows us to reach the first race knowing the new bike a bit better.
"I've progressed physically as well, I felt much better at the end of the preseason tests compared to the first time I got on the bike. The exercise you do on the bike, lapping on the circuit, helped me to improve my shape, no doubt about that. There are a few things left to be tested for Jerez; I've hardly been able to practice starts and I've only tested two sets of qualifying tyres so far, but I guess that's normal when you are a MotoGP rookie. I'm not worried and looking forward to the races.
"I don't know what can I do in Jerez, but I never think in terms of results. My first aim is to finish the race and then to finish as high as possible. Races are always different to testing and I've never competed with these guys. I'm looking for a nice weekend with good weather. We did a very good test here two weeks ago so we hope to be able to use the information we have to prepare for the race as well as we can," he concluded.
First free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix takes place on Friday morning.