Dani Pedrosa

MotoGP – Pedrosa to retire at the end of the season

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After weeks of speculation, Honda factory rider Dani Pedrosa has announced that he will end his active racing career at the end of this season, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career which has seen him win 31 MotoGP races, making him the eighth most successful rider of all time in the premier class.

Pedrosa, just 32, broke the news in a special press conference held ahead of the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring. He said: “Next year, I will not compete in the championship, this means I will finish my career this season in MotoGP. This is a decision I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and it’s a very hard decision because this is the sport I love. But despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don’t live racing with such an intensity as before and I now have different priorities in my life.

“I would like to express how fortunate I feel to have had this opportunity. It’s been an amazing life to be racing for such an important team and in front of all the fans. So I can say I achieved way more than I expected and I’m very proud of everything I’ve done in the sport. I fulfilled my dream of becoming a racer and this is something I didn’t expect as a kid watching on TV.”

The Spaniard came close to announcing his retirement at Barcelona four weeks ago, but the approach from the Petronas Yamaha Team due to race in MotoGP next year had forced him to consider his choice carefully. He said: “In Barcelona I had the feeling and a more or less clear idea of what would be my decision, but an opportunity showed up, and you never have to close the door to opportunities in that way,” Pedrosa said. “Finally, I considered the options, and with a bit more time, it’s always better to take these decisions with more time and with your people and with your family, and think about it a little bit longer. But finally, the feeling is the feeling.”

“You have to live the races to the limit and I had to give everything that I had. Looking at the project and being realistic this is the direction I have to take. I gave everything I had on the track as well as off it and it’s simply this; I’m a rider that gave my best. Like I said it was something already coming for a long time and the opportunity I had was a great chance and nothing to say about. It’s just my feeling, my way of approaching life and racing and being honest with myself… This was the decision.”

Pedrosa is one of the best racers to have never won the championship, injuries taking their toll on his ability to make a sustained title charge. The Spaniard was never a prolific crasher, but when he did, he nearly always ended up injured, often seriously.

Pedrosa has had 21 injuries during his time at the top, the most serious of which occurred at Motegi in 2010, in yet another crash caused by a mechanical error when a sticking throttle caused him to be thrown into the gravel at Turn 9, badly breaking his left collarbone in the incident. The surgery to plate that collarbone was as successful as it should have been, the plate and screws putting pressure on his subclavian artery, which supplies blood to the arms.

In race conditions the plate was reducing blood flow to the arm leading to Pedrosa feeling he was losing strength in that arm, and unable to grip the handlebars successfully. The Spaniard struggled with that feeling for nearly six months, his doctors unable to pinpoint exactly what the problem was. It left him both physically and mentally drained, Pedrosa giving serious consideration to retiring unless a solution could be found. Once the issue with the plate was identified, he was able to have surgery to solve the problem, and get back to full fitness again.

But the crash had also left him wary of surgery. When he was taken out by Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans the following year, Pedrosa deliberated for a long time before agreeing to surgery to plate the collarbone. It remained an issue for the Spaniard throughout his career, and in the end, pushed him towards retirement.

It is hard to say whether Pedrosa’s diminutive size and weight played a factor in the severity of the injuries he has accumulated over the years, but it was always a question for debate.

Pedrosa’s old team boss Livio Suppo is convinced that Pedrosa’s physical stature held him back, and that if he was just 10cm taller, he would have won the MotoGP crown at least four times. He said: “MotoGP is all about traction. Dani has the talent and riding skill, but if he was just 10cm taller, that would give him all the traction and grip he’d need to dominate the class. Of that I’m absolutely clear.”

This theory is backed up by LCR rider Cal Crutchlow, who is convinced that Pedrosa would have won multiple title had he switched to Yamaha, a bike which is much less physically demanding to ride.

Of course, Pedrosa also has the misfortune to have raced in the golden age of MotoGP, and his team-mates Casey Stoner and Marc Márquez are arguably the two most naturally talented riders to race in the championship with Stoner taking one title with Honda, and Márquez winning four of the five championships he has competed in.

So, Pedrosa has decided to bow out at the top, but his place in GP history is secure; he will be formally inducted as MotoGP Legend at the final race of the 2018 season in Valencia.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said. “I think it’s a small contribution from the championship, for what he has been doing throughout his career. It has been a big pleasure, as Dorna CEO and a friend of Dani, to share with him all these years and I hope he will continue with us, doing other things.

“The decision he has made, and he didn’t say nothing, it’s a very honest and loyal decision. He had – in the last discussions – everything to continue. But being honest with himself, he has decided to retire. Not all people would do the same. I want to tell him again, thank-you and thank-you for the example you have given to us.”

So, the greatest rider never to win a premier class title has decided to hang up his leathers. Here’s to hoping he adds more wins to his impressive haul before the chequered flag drops at the final round in Valencia…

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MotoGP – Pedrosa under the knife to fix right wrist following Argentina crash

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Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa has undergone surgery to his right to treat the injury suffered in a crash during Sunday’s race at the Argentina Grand Prix.

The Spaniard crashed out of the postponed race before the end of the first lap when he was pushed off the dry line following a move by Johann Zarco – violently highsiding as he tapped on the throttle on the wet asphalt.

A 3D CT scan confirmed that Dani had suffered an intra-articular fracture of the right distal radius.

An operation in Barcelona saw a fracture reduction and internal fixation with a titanium screw carried out by Dr. Xavier Mir and his team from the Catalan Institute of Traumatology and Sports Medicine (ICATME) at the Dexeus Hospital.

The result of the operation was satisfactory, and Pedrosa will undergo an evaluation of his progress in 48 hours. If the results are positive, he will be able to begin his rehabilitation on Saturday.

His progress will dictate whether he races in the Austin GP in two weeks.

MotoGP –Pedrosa sets the fastest time in Buriram, Marquez shows the best pace

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The Repsol Honda team has wrapped up a positive final day of testing in Thailand, which saw Dani Pedrosa setting the fastest time of the day and the best overall with a 1’29.781” on lap 77 of 78.

The Spaniard said: “We leave Thailand with positive feelings. The test was quite tough as the temperatures were high, and we worked really hard over the three days. In the end we didn’t have many tyres left, so we had to carefully manage the planning of our work.

“We worked on many aspects of the bike’s setup, and step-by-step we improved our speed and pace. Among other things, today we tested a carbon swing arm that’s a new area for us to work on, so we’re still in the process of learning and of finding the feeling. I’m very happy with the job my team is doing at the track, and with what the engineers are doing back in Japan. They’re really helping us to improve, and this is good and gives us confidence. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue this trend at the final test in Qatar, which will be very interesting as conditions will be different.”

The session saw both factory riders working on the general development of their RC213V, carrying out tests on the latest engine configuration, chassis, aerodynamics, and Michelin tyres.

Over the three days of testing, Marquez completed a total of 271 laps, Pedrosa  224, and while Pedrosa topped the timesheet, Marquez managed a very impressive 20-lap race simulation in the afternoon, featuring a long string of high-1’30” laps. His quickest time on the final day was a 1’30.143” on lap 27 of 96, the fourth-fastest among all riders (yesterday’s best of 1’29.969” places him third in the combined classification).

MotoGP – Repsol Honda duo dominate Aragon

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa scored a fantastic one-two result at the Aragon Grand Prix.

The duo, starting from the second row of the grid, Marquez on a hard-hard Michelin tyre combination, Pedrosa on medium-medium, fought their way forward to take the squad’s seventh double podium of the season.

The race got off to a dramatic start, with poleman Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) quickly passed by the fast-starting Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), as the Ducati man led into the first corner and took the race to the rest of the field.

The Ducati racer led for the next 15 of the 23-lap race, with Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – who was returning to competitive racing action just 24-days after breaking his right leg in two places – all in close contention.

Lorenzo came under scrutiny from Marquez, before the reigning world champion made his move on lap-16. Once in the lead Marquez pushed all the way to the line and finished almost a second ahead of his nearest rival, a result that increased his championship lead to 16-points.

Pedrosa made his way from sixth on the grid – setting the fastest lap of the race in the process – to follow his team-mate home, and once he had created enough heat in the tyres he was able to produce fast laps and push his way towards the front of the field. Lorenzo made up the trio of riders on the podium as he steered his machine to third. The choice of Michelin compounds was certainly evident on the podium as soft, medium, and hard rear versions were used by the top-three collectively.

Pole-setter Viñales was the next across the line after the top-three, following a spirited fight with his team-mate Rossi. Sixth – and the first independent rider – went to Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), as he equalled his best result of the season so far. Dovizioso came home in seventh to consolidate his second position in the championship, with Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) in eighth. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took ninth and strengthened his lead in the Independent and Rookie of the Year title chases. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top-ten.

Marquez’s 60th career win is also his fifth this year and his ninth podium of the season (the seventh out of the last eight races), helping him to pull a small gap of 16 points over Andrea Dovizioso and 28 points over Maverick Viñales, his two closest pursuers in the title chase.

Marquez said: “I’m very very happy with this victory because it was a tough race. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable with the bike, and today I was struggling again except in the warm-up; I don’t really know why. Anyway, racing at one of my favourite tracks, close to my home and in front of my fans, gave me extra motivation. I pushed hard and in some corners I just clicked the off-button in my head, even if I crashed twice yesterday. I saw that Viñales and Dovi were struggling a bit and knew it was the moment to push, so I did.

“There were a few scary moments, once when I was trying to overtake Valentino; he was tighter in that corner than I was expecting, and to avoid a clash I released the brakes, only to realise that Lorenzo was right there. So I went off the track, and at that moment I cooled down a bit, even if I continued to try and close the gap. Once I passed Lorenzo, I had to keep going as I saw that Dani was coming very fast. Anyway, that’s the Marquez style. Of course it’s important to think of the championship, but the situation now requires that we give it everything. So we’ll try to continue with the same motivation and mentality race by race, giving our 100 per cent.”

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.”