Spaniard reflects on brilliant career ahead of emotional MotoGP retirement.
Dani Pedrosa has been riding competitively on the professional circuit since 2001 and has finally decided to bring the curtain down on a glittering career that saw him win three world titles.
The Spaniard won the 125cc championship in 2003, then claimed back-to-back 250cc titles in 2004 and 2005 before the move up to MotoGP where he has raced hard for 13 seasons with 31 victories to his name.
Unlike great rival Valentino Rossi, the 32-year-old does not want to race into his mid-to-late thirties so has decided to call it quits at the end of his final season alongside Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda.
Pedrosa, who was championship runner-up in 2007, 2010 and 2012, spoke about his time on the bike in an emotional Sport und Talk on Servus TV.
Before the season you were very motivated, after a great winter test. Then straight at the beginning of the season you had two crashes. Did they destroy your season?
Especially the crash in Argentina. That was the second race, I guess. I was leading and (Johann) Zarco pulled me out and additionally I broke my wrist. The great hopes were destroyed back then. I did surgery and tried to get back my full strength as fast as possible, then had a great ride in Jerez but, unfortunately again, a crash with both Ducatis. They have been two hard crashes. I was sitting there and told myself, I have to pace myself. I lost lots of self-confidence – I had to win it back again.
You had an unbelievable winning run, every year at least one race win. Do you want to continue this record in your last year?
Of course I would love to continue this record, but the season began difficult and there are not so many races left. My feeling on the bike is not the best. The competition is heavy with the Ducatis and Marc Marquez. It’s going to be a hard challenge for me. However, when I can turn that thing and my feeling on the bike and the tyre issues, the speed will come back – the pace is no problem. To win a race you must fight and you also need a little bit of luck. Everything must fit together. There are some good races coming and I think I indeed have a chance.
What will happen after your career? You will be a part of the MotoGP Legends and then?
Well, there will be this presentation in Valencia which will be a great present for me. It’s going to be great to be a member of the club with all the riders I used to race as a kid. But who knows, the future can hold anything. There are many important decisions for me to make. I will have to listen to myself and take my time. Maybe I have to change my lifestyle a little bit. It will be much less stressful for me. I will take it easy.
Of course, both are top riders. They will handle the situation and both will go to their limits. Marc surely has some benefits as he knows the team and the bike. Jorge at first has to fit in the team and get used to many things, but it will definitely be interesting when you look at the competition between them.
Yamaha has some technical issues this year. How is the Honda perspective on this? Are you less afraid of Yamaha and concentrate more on Ducati?
We always focus on every opponent. You cannot exclude any of the riders, especially Yamaha with their long winning history. But, yes, at the moment they have some troubles because of reasons nobody really knows – maybe it’s the motor. You can solve many problems, but you cannot change the motor during the season. Maybe this is the problem, maybe not. Ducati at the moment has a great feeling on many tracks and so do many riders. The challenge is great and the competition is close. When one of the stables has difficulties, the fight becomes bigger.
The people react very positively to you and you heard what the other riders say about you. How important are these gestures and words for you, after you announced the end of your career?
They mean a lot to me. Of course, it’s hard sometimes. You have your own perspective of yourself and of what you give to others. Today you get a lot more feedback than back then, because of social media, but when you hear people talking about their emotions and how they feel after you won a race – great feelings! It is wonderful to do what you love and make people happy with it.
(Red Bull Content Pool / Gold and Goose) Lead image : ServusTV / Neumayr / Leo