After weeks of speculation, Dani Pedrosa has announced that he will end his active racing career at the end of the 2018 season.
The Spaniard had been mulling his future for some time, after it had become clear that there was no place for him left in the Repsol Honda MotoGP team, and after discussions with other teams throughout the first part of the year, Pedrosa made his decision some time after Assen, and announced it at a special press conference held ahead of the German round of MotoGP at the Sachsenring.
“Next year, I will not compete in the championship, this means I will finish my career this season in MotoGP,” Pedrosa told a packed press conference room at the Sachsenring.
“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,” he said. “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.” It was an emotional press conference, the normally taciturn Pedrosa fighting to control his emotions.
The announcement had not come as a surprise. It had become clear in the week heading into the Sachsenring that Pedrosa had decided to retire.
The Sachsenring is a unique circuit, and a unique place. We say that about almost every racetrack we go to, but it is much more true of the Sachsenring than of anywhere else.
No track is as tight, yet deeply challenging as the tightly-coiled circuit in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, and the atmosphere among the fans is electric.
Normally here, I would give a brief description or history of the circuit at which MotoGP is due to race. But Mat Oxley has already done that much better than I would have, so I suggest you read his article on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
There is a very good chance that this is the last race here at the Sachsenring, as Oxley lays out in the article. But all hope is not yet lost: regional politics may yet solve the problem, though it will be done with taxpayers’ money.
Given the huge attendance at the circuit – Sunday numbers often well over 90,000, and over 100,000 on occasion – the race generates a huge amount of revenue for the surrounding area.
Hotels are full, restaurants are heaving, supermarkets stock extra food and drink (especially drink). All that generates more revenue for local government through taxes. But will that be enough to justify spending on keeping the race here?
“Next year I will not be competing in the Championship” was how Dani Pedrosa started his retirement announcement today at the start of the German GP in Sachsenring.
Confirming the retirement suspicions that swirled ahead of the press launch, Pedrosa thanked Honda, his sponsors, and Dorna for the 18 years of support that they have shown him in grand prix racing.
Set to be named a MotoGP Legend at the season finale at Valencia, Pedrosa has been a force to be reckoned with in Grand Prix racing. Though he never won a MotoGP title, he was one of the original “aliens” when that phrase was coined, and has always been a contender when on the starting grid.
As such, Pedrosa holds the third-most podiums in grand prix racing (153), along with 54 race wins, and three World Championship titles (one in 125GP and two in 250GP).
The MotoGP website is currently counting down to a live press conference that will feature Dani Pedrosa. The time on the clock is T-minus 15 hours, and at T-minus 15 hours plus one minute, the MotoGP paddock expects the 32-year-old to announce his retirement from motorcycle racing.
The rumors leading up to the German GP have gone both ways for Pedrosa, with some suggesting that the Spaniard would retire this season, while others thought he would take a ride on the newly formed Petronas Yamaha team.
We expected an announcement, one way or another, from Pedrosa first at the Catalan GP, then at the Dutch TT, but now we know that Germany will be the spot – a track that Pedrosa has carved out as one of his places of two-wheeled dominance.
To that end, Roadracing World has published that their sources have revealed to them that Pedrosa’s plan is to end his career at the end of the 2018 season, rather than try his hand on the satellite Yamaha in 2019.
Confirming what had long been a suspicion in the Grand Prix paddock, the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is set to field a MotoGP team with Yamaha YZR-M1 machinery.
Signing a memorandum of understanding with the Yamaha Motor Company, the Sepang circuit will race for at least the next three seasons (2019, 2020, & 2021), filling the satellite team role once held by the Tech3 racing team.
Taking over the grid entries from the Angel Nieto Racing Team, the Sepang circuit has also announced that its team will take on Jorge “Aspar” Martinez as the team’s “Sporting Advisor” for the 2019 season.
With still only a thimble of information being released, we can expect more information to come to light at the next MotoGP round, which is the German GP on July 15th.
Episode 56 of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees David Emmett and Neil Morrison on the mics, as they cover the German GP at Sachsenring. With a mix of conditions, and a few surprises, the results from MotoGP’s stop in Germany might have been easy to predict, but how we got to it was anything but obvious.
As such, the guys talk about the eventful race weekend for all three Grand Prix classes. The show then turns to some talk about current state of the rider market – who is staying with their current team, and who is moving on to greener pastures.
The show then concludes with a discussion of the weekend’s biggest winners and losers, as is becoming the custom on the podcast. It’s another great show from the Paddock Pass crew, and you won’t want to miss it.
As always, be sure to follow the Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to the show on iTunes and SoundCloud – we even have an RSS feed for you. If you like the show, we would really appreciate you giving it a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!
Every race weekend, there are dozens of things I either miss, or don’t have time to write about. Here’s what I missed from the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring:
About Those Chassis
Since the Barcelona test, the paddock has been awash with gossip about Yamaha chassis. Valentino Rossi was particularly enamored of one of the chassis tested at Barcelona, though his teammate Maverick Viñales appeared to be a lot less enthralled by it. At Assen and the Sachsenring, both riders had one each of the “new” chassis and one of the “old” chassis.
The new chassis is said to be a development of the chassis used last year – some even say last year’s chassis – which was itself a slight revision of the 2015 chassis. The “old” chassis was a new chassis based on the chassis used last year, meant to save the rear tire, but sacrificing corner entry as a result.
Valentino Rossi was constantly clear about which chassis he favored, and which chassis he used. Yet Viñales consistently refused to answer questions on the subject, claiming he had been banned from doing so by Yamaha. So how can one rider answer and the other refuse?
If the 2017 MotoGP season has been anything, it has been entirely unpredictable. After two races, we were declaring the season over, and penciling Maverick Viñales’ name on the trophy.
A race later, and we were conceding that Valentino Rossi had taken over the lead of the championship, and that meant that whoever won the title would be riding a Yamaha.
After four races the top four were within ten points, and we gave up on there being a favorite, only to change our minds again after Le Mans, where Valentino Rossi crashed out trying to beat his teammate, and Viñales took a 17-point lead again.
After Mugello, when Andrea Dovizioso won his first dry MotoGP race, Viñales led by 26 points, and was ahead of reigning champion Marc Márquez by 37 points. We had our favorite once again.
Three races and two changes in the championship lead later, and we have given up again. The top four are back within ten points of each other again, and making predictions is looking increasingly foolish.
There was one certainty we could cling to, and would not allow ourselves to let go: At the Sachsenring, Marc Márquez takes pole, and then goes on to win the race.
It has happened the last seven years Márquez has raced at the Sachsenring, from 125s to Moto2 to MotoGP. Surely he would repeat that again? Surely, Marc Márquez would break the unpredictability of MotoGP in 2017?