With Marc Marquez already signed up for 2015 and 2016, and Valentino Rossi on the verge of penning a new deal with Yamaha for two more years, attention is turning to Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

Will Lorenzo want to stay with Yamaha or switch to Honda? Will Pedrosa be prepared to take a pay cut or head off to a different factory? All these are thing we will learn over the coming weeks.

Pedrosa’s case is particularly interesting. Some well-informed sources are starting to report on his options for the future. According to the Spanish magazine Motociclismo, Dani Pedrosa has been offered a substantial pay cut by Honda, with a base salary cut from something in the region of 6 million euros a season to 1.5 million euros, with a very generous bonus scheme for winning races and the championship.

But Suzuki have also shown an interest in Pedrosa. The Japanese factory needs a winning rider to help make their new bike fully competitive, times set by Randy de Puniet are so far lagging a second or more behind the factory Hondas and Yamahas.

Right now, only four riders look capable of winning – in fact, since 2008, only six riders have won, with Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Valentino Rossi taking multiple wins, Ben Spies being the anomaly with a single victory at Assen. If Suzuki wants a rider with a proven track record, then Dani Pedrosa is almost its only option.

It is worth remembering here that although Pedrosa has not won a MotoGP championship yet, he is still one of the most successful riders in the history of the sport.

Pedrosa is eighth on the list of all-time winners, in both MotoGP and all classes, and has three titles in the junior classes to his name. He has more wins that Wayne Rainey, and has regularly beaten Marquez, Lorenzo, and Rossi, as well as his former teammate Stoner. On any Sunday, Dani Pedrosa is a candidate for victory.

Pedrosa knows this, and knows that Suzuki needs him more than he needs them. According to German-language website Speedweek, Pedrosa has demanded 8 million euros to ride for the Hamamatsu factory.

Given that this would be a pay rise for Pedrosa, that is a sizable sum. Especially given that Pedrosa is being outclassed by his teammate, and has yet to win a MotoGP title. Signing Pedrosa is no guarantee of success.

So is this a mark of extreme arrogance on the part of Pedrosa? Unlikely. Pedrosa has always been a surprisingly modest man, at least by the standards which elite athletes are measured by. Is it just Pedrosa’s way of politely turning Suzuki down, knowing that they would never be willing to pay that much for his services?

Possibly, though like all top riders, Pedrosa has a clear sense of direction, and what he does and does not want to do. There is perhaps another explanation for Pedrosa’s salary demands, which has a particular logic to it. It needs explaining with an example from another field altogether.

Back in the early 1980s, many rock bands were known for their increasingly extravagant riders, clauses attached to their contracts dictating what food, drink, and other supplies and accessories were to be present backstage at their performances.

The most extreme example was said to be rock band Van Halen, who demanded that there was to be a bowl of M&Ms present in their dressing room, with all of the brown M&Ms removed. The contract explicitly specified that if they found a single brown M&M in that bowl of candy, they would be entitled to cancel the concert while still being paid in full.

At the time, this was derided as an example of the extraordinary arrogance of modern rock bands, yet Van Halen had very good reasons for putting the brown M&M clause in their contract. They were putting on massive stage shows featuring huge lighting and pyrotechnic rigs in places, where comparable bands had never performed.

Those rigs needed very specific power and safety facilities for them to function properly, and a very thick contract was provided specifying the complete technical requirements in great detail. If the venue did not do everything right, musicians, crew and audience could all face severe and possibly fatal danger.

Checking the bowl of candy was a quick way of seeing whether the contract had been read and complied with, if the band found a brown M&M, then they ran a full check of the rest of the venue. Inevitably, they would find other, dangerous breaches of the contract.

What does this have to do with Dani Pedrosa and Suzuki? The Japanese factory has had only limited success in Grand Prix racing, securing just two championships in the past 21 years: one with Kevin Schwantz in 1993, and the other with Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.

The bike has never been truly competitive, and every rider who ever raced for the factory has complained that the lack of success was down to a lack of investment. The factory stubbornly followed their own path, never spending enough to catch up to Honda and Yamaha.

Any current rider looking at a Suzuki contract should know this history, and will therefore be wary of Suzuki’s claims that this time it will be different.

There is no doubt that team manager Davide Brivio is being genuine that Suzuki want to invest enough to be competitive, but Brivio is not the person who makes the decisions about budget. Those are made at the highest level, in the Suzuki boardroom by the senior executives.

So how do you test whether Suzuki are willing to spend what it takes to win? As a rider, you have a simple test, if you are clever about it. By demanding a massive salary – shall we say, around the 8 million euro mark – a rider can gauge just how serious Suzuki is.

If they won’t spend the millions to secure a top rider, how can you be sure that they will spend the tens of millions needed to build a competitive MotoGP machine? I have a sneaking feeling that Dani Pedrosa’s 8 million euro wage demand was his version of the brown M&Ms.€

Source: Motociclismo & Speedweek; Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

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  • BBQdog

    ” …. and has regularly beaten Marquez, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa, as well as his former teammate Stoner.”

    Beating himself ?

  • Funnyman6869

    Loved this article & your comparing Pedrosa to Van Halen! Only you could pull that off.Genius my friend,GENIUS!!!!!

  • bill fabian

    A great piece that makes sense. Well done David Emmett.

  • Glenn

    “Pedrosa is eighth on the list of all-time winners … regularly beaten Marquez, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa, as well as his former teammate Stoner”.

    That’s where he’s been going wrong, beating himself…

  • Alclab

    Great article, enjoyed the comparison and the possible logic behind it.

    However, I think it cannot be discarded that simply Pedrosa is looking for a similar salary to what he was making these past seasons with Honda (which supposedly was around 7.5 million Eur/year) and maybe Suzuki can get near that mark. Remember that these are negotiations as well, so he (or his agent) may as well throw a very big figure as a first offer so that the counter-offer from Suzuki would not be to low, now that it is known that Honda is going for 1.5 plus bonuses for winning.

    Also, even if the bonuses for winning or results are pretty big, he knows that at the moment Marquez is way above him and thus achieving such results (in particular performing better than Marc) is looking very complicated at the moment.

    Anyway, it’s all speculation at this point…


  • Brandon

    Will Suzuki ever challenge the likes of Honda? I’ve read an article here before that there is basically a level of respect in Japan that the MSMA has formed. Honda 1st, Yamaha 2nd, Suzuki and Kawi 3rd and 4th. So, in saying that, is Suzuki actually planning on beating Honda? Or just creating a competitive bike. Cause I could care less if they create a bike that runs in 5th place and they consider that a success.

  • smiler

    Not really a case of Suzuki plannin to beat Hinda. It is more to do with whether they actually can.

    The only surprise is how long Hinda have kept hold of Predro. if Stoner had not left then I think he would have been gone by now.

    Fortunately there are at least another 2 Spanish riders that could and likely will take his place to preserve the Iberian triangle of Dorna, Repsol and Spanish rider.

    WSBK yet again the place to be for decent racing this weekend.

    The only interest again at Mugello will be how far Rossi will go to win it and whether the test Ducat conducted will have made a difference.

    Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo / Pedro.

  • H.L.

    Pedrosa seems like a good guy but that’s just a hardball business move by Honda. Honda without a doubt wants to move on to another rider but out of respect for DP they didn’t flat out tell him he wasn’t returning. If he accepts the pay cut, they get a top 4 rider at a discount and if he walks then they get they’re wish and probably go after Lorenzo or someone else.

    Strictly business.

    DP should just appreciate the years on the second best bike on the grid for the most part and close this chapter.

  • Conrice

    @ smiler – I completely agree with you – the only reason Pedro kept his seat at Repsol is because Casey retired. Pedro, IMHO, needs to go to a different team. He’ll NEVER be #1 at Repsol again. With how talented he is and how long he’s been on one of, if not the, top bike in the paddock – to not have a WC to show for it will hurt his legacy. You’re not at Repsol Honda for any other reason other than to win WC’s. It’ll add something positive for him to go to another team and try to develop it. Either way, he won’t win a WC, but at least he can say he helped build a Suzuki team from the ground up. Not to mention, go make the money while you can. Suzuki will come back with 6 mil. euros and he should take the money and run to Suzuki.

    Plus – with the lack of drama on the track, I need something in silly season to shake things up. I’d love to see a lot of movement.

  • n/a

    Or maybe Honda are paying Marquez 20/30 million and can’t afford more than 1.5 for a second rider?

  • paulus

    … and costs for brakes and suspension are capped for cost saving. Just saying.

  • wondering

    I think Honda may be putting too low a price on insurance.
    Yes a few other riders might do well but unlikely in their 1st year.
    If at the next race or the next Marc gets off hard Honda has a good insurance policy in Dani

    But…..business is business I guess & we have yet to know what Marc’s contract cost them

  • Pedrosa Van Halen analogy. EPIC.

  • man oh man! I really enjoyed this article!

    Thanks Jensen.

  • “Back in the early 1980s, many rock bands were known for their increasingly extravagant riders”


  • Westward

    It is obvious that if Stoner were still involved Pedrosa would no longer be a Repsol pilot. We might have seen Suzuki enter the fray sooner, or he would be at Ducati.

    Its a clever analogy, but I doubt the Van Halen M&M theory is the reason. Pedrosa and Co. really think he is worth it and they think Suzuki will pay. Pedrosa has always been arrogant.

    Suzuki would be a fool to pay him that much anyway. I’d rather see that money go to more R&D and see them lure Crutchlow over to their cause or Aleix Espargaro.

    Regardless of where Pedrosa goes. One thing I think will absolutely happen is Lorenzo will end up at HRC, as he will think that is the only thing that will even the score with Marquez. (Regardless, Marquez will still win).

    One of the Espargaro brothers will end up on the other Factory Yamaha, most likely Aleix. Once Yamaha starts to develop their bike to Rossi’s style again, the bike will become more competitive.

    But then again, with Michelin becoming the new tyre supplier for MotoGP, we could see a complete shift in the order of balance, and Bradl or Iannone battling for dominance aboard their Factory Ducati’s. Or maybe even Dovi and Bautista contending for poduims on their Factory Aprilias. The tyres could change everthing…

  • Westward, for you to say that Pedrosa is arrogant then you must know something we don’t know. However, most people call other people arrogant they can’t determine the thin line between cocky and confidence.

    Pedrosa strikes me a man who is really shy and introvert, and I base this from all the interviews and videos I’ve seem of him, now Stoner do comes across as an arrogant punk (specially from all the negative comments he made about the sports we all enjoy)

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  • Ken C.

    I have a feeling Dani Pedrosa had little to do with the 8 million euro demand. MotoGP is just like any other sport where agents are going to do all the talking for the athletes. If they tell Dani he’s worth 8 million, then that’s what he’s going to charge. I doubt he’d say, no way, I’m only worth 1.5.

    This is strictly business. The cost of riding for an unproven, potentially uncompetitive, team is a big risk. With great risk comes great reward.

    Besides, everybody knows that Honda is the best bike in the paddock right now, so it would take a lot to pull Pedrosa away from that, even when Honda has already put all their eggs in the Marquez basket.

  • Shawn

    I’m willing to bet that the 1.5M plus bonuses from Honda is meant to do two things: 1) If Pedrosa stays it’s meant to be an extra carrot to keep him motivated in the face of a dominant team-mate and/or 2) politely suggest that Pedrosa moves on so that they can get Bradl or an Espargaro in the second seat.

  • Westward

    @ Frod

    Pedrosa was always arrogant. When he came to the Premiere class, he was a two time champion in 250 and a champion of 125 before that. everyone thought that he was the heir apparent to the HRC line of champions.

    However, his career is only diminished by the fact that nearly everyone of his teammates have won the title save for him, and Dovizioso.

    He was also arrogant when he forced his way into an error that caused him to crash and brake his collarbone @ LeMans and have the audacity to blame Simoncelli. Simoncelli in all his humillity attempted to apologize to Pedrosa, and Pedrosa would not even shake his hand. Pedrosa even dodged Simoncelli’s out stretched hand like little petulant child. (all caught on camera), He was even arrogant when he unseated Hayden during Hayden’s championship title season in 2006.

    Pedrosa has been both cocky and confident. The perception of shyness is a simple reflection of a lack of personality, that has evolved into being introverted.

    Pedrosa had all the promise and potential in the world, and is a failure by all expectations. Sure he is talented, and has a successful record in the premiere class. but he only measures up well against the past and it’s champions. Measure him by his present and future peers, and he falls well short of the mark.

    Don’t get me wrong, to be a MotoGP pilot, there has to be a bit of confidence, even a little bit of arrogance. However, Pedrosa , just is not gifted in hiding it…

  • David

    Pedrosa knows Suzuki cannot provide the MM color that can make him a winner.

    Honda already has the brown MM.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    …or it could just all mean David Lee Roth was the world’s biggest tool.

    Pedrosa is past it. I think he still has all the talent he’s ever had…but last year, start of the year before his injury, he had it. After that he was missing something and has been missing it ever since.

    I don’t want to say the guy doesn’t care, but he clearly doesn’t care as much as before.

    Lorenzo is gutted with each non-first-place finish. Rossi is still Rossi. But Dani? He doesn’t seem to care as much.

  • geez guys. now all of are making it seem like Pedrosa is another Spies, you are forgetting is one of the aliens. If Pedrosa wouldn’t have crash as much as he has he would have a championship under his belt, no disrespect to Nikki but back in ’06 Nikki never won as much as Pedrosa but Nikki didn’t crash as much as Pedrosa.

    My point is that there are 4 riders that we know are in another league of its own and Pedrosa is one of them. Yah! there’s an anomaly podium here and there but an alien…ewwhhh!

    in my head the order is as follows.


    5. (anomaly rider)who else would be in this league year in year out?

    Yes, I know Marc should be 1st but I just admire Lorenzo’s racing ethics.

  • Jw

    Pedrosa already is the best number two guy in the business, why would HRC Push him out for the likes of Jorge? JL cannot do any better than DP on the Repsol bike (2nd place) and he sure ain’t gonna sign on for 1.5. Honda can do better for a number 2 rider for half the Lorenzo wage.

    Suzuki does not need a rider who’s talent is greater than the bike can sustain. I think Hayden is the best hope, marketing gem and reality for Suzuki. Hayden can achieve middle of the pack results which will be great for the Suzuki re-entering the paddock on a bike that is 1-2 seconds off the MM Honda.


  • chaz michael michaels

    Pedrosa is getting obliterated by MM.–and he seems to have a ho-hum attitude about it. Put Rossi or Lorenzo on that Repsol Honda machine and there wouldn’t be a gap to MM.

    Also, look out for the young guns coming up. Vinales, Rabat, Miller, etc… There’s some huge talent coming up from Moto2, and 3.

  • John D’Orazio

    I used to relish hating Dani Pedrosa. With time, however, I have had to admit that he is one of the best riders on the planet. But for some bad luck, I’m pretty sure he would have had at least one championship. So, I’m a little puzzled that Honda views him as yesterday’s news. If Marquez throws his bike down the road and is injured, Honda would be well served to have Pedrosa in reserve. Just business, I suppose.

    As to Pedrosa himself, if Suzuki came calling with 8 million euros, I would take it. At some point, a rider’s duty to himself demands that he maximize his earnings in a very, very dangerous career.

  • The Pedrosa naysayers are never short of vitriol. As with smiler’s inevitable anti-Spanish comments, the naysayers constantly downplay Pedrosa’s accomplishments. It boggles the rational mind, truly. It’s as though these people create some fantasy sport in which everybody should have won the championship at some point, lest their careers be considered a sham. D’oh!

    As correctly stated in the article, Pedrosa is a wildly successful rider. And, unfortunately, he has been successful at beating himself. Where other riders crash-bounce-carry on, Pedrosa has had the unfortunate history of crash-break-heal. He’s a brilliant rider who just happens to be unfortunately brittle.

    History doesn’t lie, so just look back on the end of the 2012 season. Pedrosa was pretty much unstoppable. For that matter, just look back through his premier-class career. Very few riders in history can honestly say they’ve been as consistent and successful as Pedrosa obviously and rightfully can.

  • P.S. – I think Pedrosa’s current demeanor in the box in light of being pummeled by MM this season is more one of stoicism than ho-hum. My opinion only (and worth what you paid for it), I think that Dani is just getting down to the tiring business of trying to figure out where the 10ths can come from to up his game. The entire paddock faces the arduous task of bringing their game to MM. Bashing Pedrosa over his lack of performance ignores the reality of the 2014 grid.

  • Alclab

    Pedrosa is a good (great even) rider, there’s no soubt about it. But he ALWAYS seems to just fall short. I think that what a lot of people criticise from him is just that, he appears to be wasted talent, and even worse, wasted talent on the best bike of the championship. It’s super clear that to be champion you need more than just skill and talent, you HAVE to WANT IT, you have to be willing to fight, to give that little bit extra than your rival… Something which we simply don’t see in Pedrosa.

    Also I know that he has been “unfortunate” and had some bad luck here and there, but it just amazes me how much do their followers justify him. There always seems to be an excuse as to why “he’s the best rider BUT…” there’s always a BUT. Crashes, engine, injury, pain, sleep, the bike, other riders, weather, etc…

    It just seems to me that if you have to justify hime so much, there’s a chance that something else is going on. Every rider is subject to the same conditions, and (except fo MM93) on worse bikes, so keep on vouching for him, eternal #2, I would give the chance to someone who wants to fight for it, and isn’t completely jaded and scared of MM93 for a change.

  • Okay, so let’s look at some facts, which stand for themselves:

    * 2006 – rookie seaon, finishing 5th overall
    * 2007 – finshed 2nd overall
    * 2008 – finished 3rd overall
    * 2009 – finished 3rd overall
    * 2010 – finished 2nd overall
    * 2011 – finished 4th overall
    * 2012 – finished 2nd overall
    * 2013 – finished 3rd overall

    That is an outstanding career, especially when one considers his proclivity towards injury. Were the guy less fragile, I’ve little doubt he’d have landed a championship already. Alas, would’ve/could’ve amount to nothing.

    Stay healthy and rock it, Dani.

  • Jw


    I hope you never have to serve a jury duty..

  • mxs

    I say let him walk … LOL