Dani Pedrosa announces retirement
The smallest man in MotoGP he may have been, but only fools ever doubted the size of Dani Pedrosa’s heart and talent.
Tonight in a press conference held ahead of the German GP, the 32-year-old Spaniard officially announced that he will hang up his gloves at the end of season 2018.
“This ia a decision I have bee thinking about for a long time and it is a very, very hard decision, this is the sport I love, but despite good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don’t live racing with such an intensity as before.
“Now I have different priorites in my life. How fortunate I feel to have this experience, this opportuity in my life, it has been amazing life to be out racing for such an important team and in front of all the fans. I can say I acheived d way more than I expect, and I am very very proud of what I have done in the sport.”
Dani held it together until some questions from the floor brought some tears from the 125cc and 2 x 250cc World Champion.
Pedrosa was also runner-up in the MotoGP World Championship three times and has 54 race wins under his belt along with 153 podiums, 49 pole positions and 64 race fastest laps.
Of course he has many rounds left this season to try and add to that impressive tally.
Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta announced after Pedrosa stopped speaking that Dani would be nominated as a MotoGP Legend at the season finale in Valencia. The following is a Dorna statement.
As decided by the Permanent Bureau formed by FIM President Vito Ippolito and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, three-time World Champion Dani Pedrosa will become a MotoGP Legend when he hangs up his leathers, with the Spaniard set to be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at the season finale at Valencia. Pedrosa won the 125 Championship in 2003, the 250 title in 2004 and 2005, and is one of the most successful riders of all time in the premier class.
Pedrosa’s international career began in 2001 in the 125 World Championship. As a rookie, he took two podiums and finished his first season within the top ten overall in eighth. The following year he took his first wins – three of them – to finish the season third overall, before he went two better in 2003 and won his first title with five wins.
Despite breaking both his ankles in a crash at the end of 2003, the ‘Little Samurai’ then moved up to the 250 World Championship for 2004 – and won on his debut. At 18 years and 202 days old Pedrosa became the youngest rider to win in the class, and it was on his way to becoming the youngest ever intermediate class World Champion at 19 years and 18 days old. In 2005, he defended the crown.
2006 marked Pedrosa’s debut in the premier class. On the podium first time out in Jerez and then needing only four races to take his first win when he took to the top step in Shanghai, one of the most successful premier class riders ever had arrived on the scene. He took another win in his rookie year, at Donington Park, and ended the year in the top five.
In 2007 Pedrosa was second overall to only Casey Stoner and added more wins and podiums to his tally, and he was in the top three in the Championship in 2008 – despite breaking his right hand in pre-season testing and sitting out the US GP after injuring his left hand at the German GP. In 2009 he managed the same top three despite more struggles with injury, and in 2010 was runner-up once again. 2011 was another battle through the pain barrier, before an incredible assault on the title in 2012 that saw the Spaniard only narrowly miss out on the crown – and win the most races that year.
In 2013 Pedrosa was leading the standings before a collarbone break and was third overall, and in 2014 he suffered with arm problems throughout the season and despite that, took another win. 2015 began with career-saving surgery to fix the problem, and Pedrosa was back on the top step towards the end of the year at Motegi and at Sepang. In 2016 he won at Misano as he destroyed the field, and 2017 saw him make another piece of history as he took to the top step in the 3000th race counting towards the World Championship, in Jerez. He also won the season finale in style, underlining an incredible achievement: he’s the first rider in history to win at least one Grand Prix per season for 16 consecutive years.
After taking the third most podiums of all time behind only Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini, Pedrosa retires at the end of 2018 – and will now join the ranks of MotoGP™ Legends.
“Dani Pedrosa is a true great,” says Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports. “A World Champion on 125cc and 250cc machinery and one of the most successful riders we’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, Pedrosa has contributed an incredible amount to the world of motorcycle racing over a long and distinguished career in MotoGP. With a legacy that includes his incredible winning run over so many years, and so many wins and podium finishes, we’re very proud that he will be inducted as a MotoGP Legend.”
Pedrosa will join a long list of greats that have been or will be made MotoGP Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington and the late Nicky Hayden.