Repsol-Honda driver Dani Pedrosa was visibly moved yesterday as he announced he is to retire from MotoGP at the end of the season, after 13 years competing at the top category. Pedrosa, who is soon to be 33 years old, broke the news on Thursday at a special press conference in the German circuit of Sachsenring, which is hosting this Sunday’s Grand Prix.
The Catalan pilot saw his options dwindle when Honda, his team since 2006, announced they were not renewing his contract for 2019, and they were signing Jorge Lorenzo as his replacement. Rumours then pointed to the Little Samurai possibly joining the newly formed Yamaha satellite team. This new venture is owned by the Sepang International circuit and sponsored by Petronas and has Jorge Martínez Aspar as sporting advisor. It seems, however, this project has not managed to seduced the Spaniard:
“This is a decision that I’ve been thinking for a long time, it’s a very, very hard decision because this is the sport I love,” said Pedrosa. “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.”
The eternal runner-up
Despite Pedrosa never winning a world champion title in MotoGP, he has always been one of the best. He has been sub-champion twice and is the second pilot behind Rossi with the most podiums in the history of MotoGP. The Spaniard has also achieved a staggering 54 victories in a Grand Prix, 31 of them in MotoGP, and has been 125cc world champion in 2003 and the same in the 250cc category in 2004 and 2005.
His career is undoubtedly full of successes but he has also had his share of bad luck. Pedrosa has suffered numerous and serious injuries, some of them at critical moments. These recurrent injuries have not been the cause of his retirement but they could have helped to make the decision at this point in his career, admitted the Catalan.
The Honda pilot almost won the 2013 title but he suffered a fall at the German circuit in which he fractured his collarbone in several places. Having to miss a race as a result, his team-mate Marc Marquez took the title away from him. Despite not having climbed to the very top, Pedrosa has helped Honda achieve seven MotoGP constructor titles and six team titles:
“It’s been an amazing life to be out racing for such an important team and in front of all the fans (…) I can say that I achieved way more than I expected and I’m very very proud of all I’ve done in the sport.”
ByT.C. | Photo: motorlat.com