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Dani Pedrosa’s second race back from arm pump surgery saw the Repsol Honda star in podium contention at Mugello.

But as the race went on Pedrosa struggled to match the Ducati of Andrea Iannone and Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.

On a day when team-mate Marc Marquez fell from third, Pedrosa would cross the line three-seconds from the rostrum.

“I didn’t start well, I lost some positions, but then I could do some battles and try to get close to the second group,” Pedrosa said. “Jorge was clearly away, but I was fighting there a little bit.

“I could see that the Yamaha and the Ducati are still strong towards the end of the race. So still some ideas, some analysis during the race, but in general a positive day.”

Marquez is seeking greater rear grip on corner exit and especially corner entry. Pedrosa feels part of the problem is a lack of predictable behaviour from one lap to the next.

“At the moment it’s sometimes difficult to make the same braking, the same corner speed, the same corner entry. Because one lap you have more spinning, or are more sideways into the turn,” Pedrosa explained.

“So we have to improve a little bit in that point, to make the riding a little bit more constant. This will also give the rider more confidence.

“From the race, I could also see that we have a lot more spinning than the others, either Ducati or Yamaha. As well, when Valentino overtook me, I could see that we have to improve a little bit on the fast corners.

“But we have some other good points, so I think we have to try to find a compromise and try to see where we can do the step from.”

Pedrosa confirmed that he raced with the latest Honda swingarm for the first time, having tried both versions during practice.

“All the rest of the Hondas have been using the new swingarm since one or two races. I had no experience, and I decided to take a chance and have a go. See how is the experience with the new one and if this can help or can give us some positive points, and understand for the next races. The feeling wasn’t bad, so let’s see in the future.”

Pedrosa had fallen early on his MotoGP return at Le Mans, remounting to at least put a race distance on his healing arm. Having now done a race at full pace, he declared:

“The arm is much better this race. I’m very happy for that, this means that all the therapy I’ve been doing the last weeks it’s been improving the situation. From Le Mans, better, and even though this track is more difficult for the arm and the physical condition, I find that I was working well. I hope in the next weeks I can do even more and improve for Barcelona.”