Dani Pedrosa

MotoGP – Pedrosa takes stunning pole at Barcelona

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Dani Pedrosa delivered an astonishing performance this afternoon in the Catalan sunshine, taking pole position for the second time this year.

Pedrosa started the day by setting the second-fastest time in the FP3 session before going on to top the standings in both FP4 and qualifying. He was the only rider able to crack the 1’44” barrier, setting a 1’43.870 time that earned him his 30th pole in MotoGP and the 48th of his career.

Pedrosa said: “I’m very happy because taking pole is always very difficult, and doing it in front of your home fans is just amazing. Last year we struggled a lot in qualifying, while this season we’ve already earned two poles, so I wish to thank my team for the good work. We’ve worked really hard on this aspect, and we’re getting better and better.

“The conditions were quite difficult today, especially for the tyres as it was very hot and the grip wasn’t the best. We tried to manage the situation as well as possible, working a lot on the setup to improve tyre life. The tyres will be the key to the race tomorrow; it’d be great to have the same feeling from today, but we’ll wait and see. We’ll just remain focused and be prepared to do our best.”

MotoGP – dominant Pedrosa writes his name in the history books with Jerez win

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa gave a riding masterclass on his way to victory at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at Jerez.

The Spaniard, starting from pole position, led the race from the first corner to the chequered flag, and set the race’s fastest lap on the way to taking his 30thwin in MotoGP – the 53rdin his career.

In winning the 3,000thGrand Prix race ever held, Pedrosa also earned the Repsol Honda Team’s 100thvictory in the MotoGP class and became the only rider to have won at least one race for 16 consecutive years.

Pedrosa got the holeshot from a great start off pole position, with team-mate Marquez slotting in behind ahead of an almighty tousle for third. LCR Honda rider Crutchlow was initially ahead of that battle, with Tech 3’s Johann Zarco tangling once again with championship leader Valentino Rossi on the Factory Yamaha until the flying Frenchman set off on a charge, taking bike after bike in now-signature style.

Arriving behind reigning Champion Marquez into third, the rookie held station for a lap as Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo fought back in a tight midfield, getting past the Yamaha pair of Rossi and then Maverick Viñales. Zarco then took Marquez at the final corner, heading off after Pedrosa in the lead until the reigning Champion hit back.

It proved to be an incident packed race and drama struck further back as Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda and Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati collided and slid out, before Cal Crutchlow then lowsided into the gravel at Criville – followed shortly by the Red Bull KTM machine of Pol Espargaro. After a short tussle with Viñales, Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone also tumbled out with 17 laps to go.

The gap fluctuated at the front but Marquez was unable to make any real impression on Pedrosa’s lead, with the three-time World Champion pulling the pin in the final laps to cross the line in clear air for another stunning win – making it 16 years in a row the Spaniard has taken at least one victory in the world championship.

Reigning champion Marquez settled for second, with Lorenzo finishing third to taking his first podium with Ducati. Zarco took fourth in another scintillating performance from the rookie, ahead of an impressive fight back for Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who managed to get past Viñales after the Spaniard made a mistake.

Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci stormed back through from P13 on the grid to follow Viñales over the line, with Tech 3’s Jonas Folger putting in a solid ride once again to take eighth.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was another who moved through the field, incredibly taking 2016 Jerez winner and championship leader Valentino Rossi for ninth – the ‘Doctor’ found his pace in freefall in the latter laps of the race, struggling with tyre life in the hot temperatures to complete the top ten – but retaining the Championship lead.

Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding had a much improved race in 2017 to take P11, ahead of Hector Barbera and teammate Loris Baz on the Avintia Racing Ducati’s. Bradley Smith took more points for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in P14 after an awesome show for the Austrian factory in Jerez, with Karel Abraham on the Aspar Ducati locking out the top fifteen.

Pedrosa said: “I’m super-happy with this win in Jerez, a track that I love very much, and in front of my family, my friends, and all these amazing fans. I’m enjoying this emotion so much, more than I would’ve done a few years ago, in a more ‘conscious’ way. I’ve had a great feeling all weekend, and the team have worked so well; we’re getting better race by race and I’m very happy for them as well.

“We knew we were in a position to have the race we actually did. I felt the tension a little bit before the start, but I remained concentrated and got away well at the start and just went for it.

“Today the track conditions were a bit worse than yesterday and the front was sliding quite a lot. I chose the hard front because of today’s high temperature, even if the medium was my favourite. The pace probably would’ve been faster with the medium, but anyway I was happy with my choice.

“When Marc started to push, we started a little battle like yesterday in qualifying. I knew he was very fast but I was determined to keep a gap on him. It was easy to make a mistake, to lose the front, so it was a matter of staying on the limit without going over it.

“It’s also a special honour to be the winner of the 3,000th Grand Prix race and be alongside riders like Mick (Doohan, who won race number 2,000) and Angel (Nieto, who won race number 1,000).”

After Pedrosa’s stunning domination on home turf, the championship heads to  Le Mans with Rossi now two points clear of Viñales, Marquez just behind and Pedrosa now fourth in the standings – only ten points back.

MotoGP – rampant Pedrosa storms to pole at Jerez

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took an incredible pole position in qualifying for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, securing the top spot with a sensational flying lap in the final minutes of the session at Jerez.

The Spaniard took  his 29thin MotoGP and the 47thin his career, edging teammate Marc Marquez by just half a tenth in a breath-taking battle for the top spot, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in third completing  an all-Honda front row for the first time since the German GP in 2014 (at the Sachsenring).

Pedrosa has looked rejuvenated at Jerez, leading every session this weekend apart from today’s FP4, riding consistently fast in every condition. It will be Pedrosa’s first start from pole since Malaysia in 2015, and he’ll do so at the 3,000th Grand Prix of the world championship.

Factory Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales took fourth to head up the second row ahead of Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone , with rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in sixth.

Fourteen world titles start the Spanish GP from the third row, with Championship leader Valentino Rossi in seventh on the second Factory Yamaha just ahead of Ducati Jorge Lorenzo. Tech 3’s Jonas Folger is ninth in another solid showing for the German rookie.Jack Miller backed up his Friday pace with direct entry to Q2 and a top ten start on his Marc VDS satellite Honda despite a crash, with Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding in eleventh and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in twelfth.

Pedrosa said: “This was probably one of the best poles of my career because it was a really hard battle. It was a strategic end of the session with Marc there right behind me, so for a moment I wasn’t sure if I should push or not. There was no choice anyway, so I just went for it. I’m very happy because our main target for the GP was to be on the front row. The feeling was really good, and it has been good all weekend, so I told myself, Okay, let’s try it. It has been a while since I’ve led in qualifying; I’ve struggled a lot last season so I’m very happy with today.”

MotoGP –Hayden gets Factory ride filling in for Pedrosa at Phillip Island

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Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden is to roll back the years and  throw a leg over a Factory Honda again, filling in for Repsol Honda’s crocked Dani Pedrosa at Phillip Island.

Pedrosa broke his collarbone in a monster highside during free practice at Motegi, and Honda WSBK pilot has got the call, fresh from filling in for an injured Jack Miller earlier in the season.

Hayden said: “First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does. For me it’s crazy hard work but it’s a chance, ten years after winning my world title, to get back to my old “dream team”!

“Doing a weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team.

“Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider, the weather and the tyres but it’s a track I love and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward”.

MotoGP – Pedrosa breaks collarbone at Motegi, ruled out of Japanese GP

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa has suffered a huge highside crash in FP2 at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi, breaking his right collarbone in the process.

The Spaniard, the most successful rider at the venue, lost the rear of his bike at Turn 11, and the vicious highside has left him requiring surgery.

He will be replaced in Japan by former 250 World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama, who also subbed for the Spaniard in 2015.

Pedrosa said: “Obviously I’m very sad about what happened, as I was looking forward to racing in Japan at Honda’s home circuit and one of my favourite tracks. “I was on the out-lap of my last run in FP2 when I momentarily lost the rear entering turn 11, and when the tyre found grip again it launched me in the air.”There’s not much more to say; now I just want to focus on recovering in order to get back on my bike as soon as possible.”

Dr Xavier Mir, from MotoGP’s medical team, said: “Pedrosa has a fracture in his right collarbone, with first indications showing it is a fracture that requires surgery.

“The fracture is not displaced but the bone is in four pieces; circumstances that usually require surgery. Cranial trauma that we first suspected is negative – he is OK, conscious and remembers everything. He was also injured slightly on his left foot, but the collarbone is the biggest thing. In the history of collarbone breakages Pedrosa has suffered, this appears the least serious.

“It seems that he will return to Barcelona to be operated on tomorrow, although that is not yet decided for definite. The team and rider will make their own decisions regarding treatment.”

MotoGP – Pedrosa takes stunning victory in Misano

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa became the eighth different MotoGP winner in eight races today, taking a stunning victory at Misano, his 29th in MotoGP and the 52nd in his career, as well as the 120th for Honda since the start of the MotoGP era in 2002.

Pedrosa’s choice of a soft-front and medium-rear Michelin tyre combination proved to be the best one for today’s conditions and for his riding style, as it allowed him to charge through the field at an incredibly fast pace and to set a new track record of 1’32.979 on his way to the victory.

Starting eighth on the grid, he was sixth at the end of the first lap and progressively improved his speed over the course of 22 laps, overtaking Dovizioso, Viñales, Marquez, Lorenzo and finally Rossi in a series of bullish moves before crossing the line 2.8 seconds ahead of the Italian to became the fourth Honda rider to win a race this year.

Pedrosa said: “It was a great race, and it has been a long time since I’ve had these feelings. Even I was surprised by the performance I put in today because I hadn’t expected to go so fast; we were fantastic.

“The key was the pace; I was able to fight my way through, especially in the final part, and being consistent allowed me to catch the riders at the front. It’s very nice for me to take a victory again, after all the effort made by those who have been with me in this challenging season so far: my family, my team and my fans. It has been very difficult, so I’m very happy for all of them. Today I enjoyed myself, although I was a little worried about the choice of front tyre because I hadn’t used it in hot conditions. In the end we were focused and everything went very well; it was an opportunity we had to take advantage of, and I think we achieved a great victory.”

MotoGP – two more seats taken in MotoGP musical chairs

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Two more places of MotoGP musical chairs have fallen into place with the news that Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso have extended their factory deals.

The move means the Spaniard and the Italian will ride for the Honda and Ducati teams for the next two seasons, quashing rumours that they were both set to be replaced.

The paddock expected Pedrosa to jump ship to Yamaha, but instead he has opted to remain with Honda, and just as importantly, his main sponsor, Red Bull – a rare case of loyalty working both ways. Pedrosa is the ideal number two rider for Honda – fast, consistent and capable of fighting for the win.

Dovizioso had been favourite to be be ditched by Ducati, with Iannone to partner Jorge Lorenzo for next season, but the team had a change of heart following Iannone’s spectacular last lap collision with team-mate Dovizioso in Argentia, a banzai move which effectively cost him his Ducati career.

The news means that the Honda and Ducati Factory teams are both locked out, and with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales expected to announce tomorrow that he’s signed for the Yamaha Factory team to partner Valentino Rossi, the three best teams are now full.

MotoGP – double reason for Pedrosa to celebrate at Mugello

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Dani Pedrosa arrives in Mugello with two reasons to celebrate – he’s just renewed his contract with the Honda Factory team for an additional two years and also celebrates a personal milestone achievement this weekend as he makes his 250th Grand Prix appearance.

Over the 15 years following his debut race in 2001 at Suzuka aboard an Honda RS125R, Pedrosa won three world titles (1 x 125cc – 2003, 2 x 250cc – 2004, 2005) and has achieved more podiums for the Honda Factory than any other rider, with a total of 142 including 51 victories (8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 28 x MotoGP).

The Spaniard said: “I’m very happy to arrive at the Italian GP having already renewed with Honda and aware I will be able to keep working with a team I know and trust. With our future well lined up we’ll be totally free to just focus on the work to do on track.

“Mugello has a very fast and flowing layout with many long corners so finding a good setup and a good grip will be crucial. So far my overall pace in races has been better than it could be expected from practices, in Le Mans at least it was so in the second part of the race, so I’m hoping to start strong from Friday and to keep improving over the weekend. I’ll try to do better Saturday in qualifying and to get a better grid position so be closer to the front and not remaining stuck in the first part of the race”.

MotoGP – Pedrosa fall but proves he’s THE class act of the field

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Honda Factory rider Dani Pedrosa is under intense pressure as speculation grows that he has already lost his seat for 2017.

The Spaniard has enjoyed a lacklustre start to the season as he struggles to adapt to the new Michelin tyres and the spec ECU, and he was the first to admit his podium at the last round in Argentina was the luckiest of his career.

He struggled again yesterday at the Circuit of the Americas, failing to find enough grip from the front to fight for the lead. He dropped back early on in the race, but regrouped, dug deep and began fighting his way to the front. He moved past Rossi on lap two before the Italian crashed out of the race, and passed Aleix Espargaro on the third lap. He set the third fastest lap of the race at 2’04.950, and was closely chasing Dovizioso and Lorenzo, preparing to battle for second position, when he lost the front while braking into turn one on lap seven, the bike skipping out of control. Pedrosa tried to save the bike, but that seemed to make the bike skip more violently and he torpedoed a blameless Andrea Dovizioso off the Ducati.

What happened next sums up Pedrosa. Instead of running to check the bike, Pedrose made a beeline for the distraught Dovizioso, apologised and checked out his rival before remounting and eventually retiring. The first thing he did when he returned his damaged bike to the garage was head straight for the Ducati box to seek out Dovizioso personally, and apologise to his face. He did this without hesitation, in the full glare of the massed media. The actions of Dovizioso and the Ducati management showed that this gesture was well received.

That simple action shows why Pedrosa is THE class act of the field. He never moans, never points the finger and is the consummate professional. Yes, in there past there have been issues – he notoriously failed to forgive Marco Simoncelli and publicly refused to shake the Italian’s hand when he tried to apologise in a press conference, and anyone who has seen Hitting The Apex will know that this still haunts Pedrosa. Yet, this is a more mature Pedrosa, one who restored some credibility to the series when the bad blood between Marquez and Rossi split over towards last season’s climax – one which even drew the unflappable Lorenzo in.

Pedrosa may seem to be a miserable, dour and soulless rider, but in reality he’s articulate, intelligent and funny. His talent deserves a premier world title, though sadly that seems likely to elude him. Pedrosa we salute you…

MotoGP – Marquez dominates challenging race in Argentina

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Marc Marquez rode the ride of his life yesterday to win the second race of the season in challenging conditions in Argentina.

An eventful weekend at the demanding Termas de Rio Hondo circuit saw Scott Redding’s rear tyre delaminate during qualifying, showering the track and the rider in debris as the carcass exploded in spectacular style. Luckily the inner tube remained inflated and Redding remained upright, but it was enough for Michelin to withdraw both rear tyres from this weekend’s proceedings.

However, heavy overnight rain meant the riders couldn’t test the extra tyre so a further decision between Michelin, Dorna and IRTA was taken to make the race a two stage event on safety grounds, with riders being allowed to use the tyres that they had tested all weekend, but a mandatory rule was made that they had to pit after nine, ten or eleven laps and change to another bike with the same spec tyres. The distance was also reduced to 20-laps to accommodate the extra safety measures.

The race started under heavy cloud, but the track had dried out sufficiently to allow the rides to push hard straight from the off. Pole-setter Marquez got a good start, as did Dani Pedrosa, but a desperate lunge by Ducati pilot Andrea Iannone pushed the diminutive Spaniard wide and dropped him down to the back of the midfield pack. However, Marquez’s Honda looked lively, front constantly skipping out of line, and Jorge Lorenzo hit the front on his Yamaha. Marquez was then passed on the first-lap by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, a position he held until lap-three when Marquez took over at the front.

Marquez was engaged in a thrilling battle with Rossi for first position, swapping the lead and pushing each other hard. However, every time Rossi passed, he ran wide and allowed the Spaniard to retake the lead.

Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo endured a miserable time in the tricky conditions, dropping back to sixth before crashing out at Turn One after losing the front.

At the front Marquez and Rossi both entered pitlane for the mandatory tyre change on lap 10, and while Rossi was desperate to gain an advantage it was Marquez who joined the track in the lead.

Marquez put in a stunning set of lap times on his second bike, stringing together a sequence of fast laps that nobody was able to match, and in just five laps he opened up a gap that allowed him to comfortably cross the line with a 7.6-second advantage.

As the race continued Marquez stretched his lead, while Rossi got involved in an epic four rider tussle with Andrea Dovizioso and his Ducati team-mate Andrea Iannone, along with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.

With all four vying for positions it looked to be going right to the last lap, before Viñales crashed out on a damp-patch on lap-18, leaving the three Italians to battle for the remaining podium places.

This looked like being the case, right up until the final corner when Iannone tried another hard last-minute manoeuvre on his team-mate and the pair crashed, leaving Rossi to come home in second, with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa profiting from the crash to take third.

A delighted Marc Marquez said: “I’m really happy with this win because we’ve worked very, very hard during the pre-season, in Qatar and here. Honda is working very well and I feel the support; we’re going in the same direction, and that’s the most important thing. It’s a special win, not only because it’s the first one of the year but also because with the team, we managed the situation very well, and after what happened in Australia on a similar occasion [in 2013], it was important for us to do well.

“I knew that the first part of the race would be tough because it was still damp in some places, and with the first bike I hadn’t felt as good as with the other one even during practice. I knew that the second part of the race was the key. I pushed 100% in the first five laps after the bike change, I opened a gap and after that I just kept the distance.

“This weekend was a special one for the tyres and I completely understand what happened. For every manufacturer it is difficult to understand every new circuit, especially one with a difficult surface. We had some troubles with the tyres, plus the rain this morning, so it made everything more difficult. I think Michelin did a big effort and they chose the right decision to make two races in one, because safety is a big point. I believe in Michelin because they are working really hard and making a big effort, and I totally understand what they are doing and that they are working hard to give us the best quality.”

The conditions and the crash fest saw a lot of riders profit from the chaos ahead of them and Ireland’s Eugene Laverty on a satellite Ducati took fourth and the honour of First Independent Team Rider, with another Ducati, this time belonging to Hector Barbera crossing the line in fifth. Pol Espargaro on a Yamaha was sixth, Stefan Bradl seventh on an Aprilia and Bradley Smith was eighth. MotoGP rookie Tito Rabat on the Marc VDS Honda took ninth, while the second Aprilia, ridden this time by Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top-ten.

After the race the last lap incident between the warring Ducati Factory riders was investigated by Race Direction, and Iannone was handed a three place grid penalty for the next race at Austin. The Italian was also handed a penalty point for an ‘overly optimistic overtake’.