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.
Another weekend, another racetrack, but exactly the same story. We all gathered once again to hear what Dani Pedrosa had to say about his future, and once again, Pedrosa had nothing to say.
“I know there are a lot of people waiting and wanting to know some information, but unfortunately not yet,” Pedrosa told the pre-event press conference.
“I can’t give any different news from what I already in Barcelona. I expect to, but still things are going slow, so we don’t know at this moment exactly. Sooner or later I will have something to say!”
Once bitten, twice shy, the media were a little more prepared this Thursday. Dorna had put Dani Pedrosa into the press conference, a little safer situation than the masses crowded into the HRC hospitality at Barcelona.
We were acting on a little more information as well: journalists have been talking to a range of sources since Barcelona, and so there is a much better sense of where we stand on the Petronas-Yamaha story, as I explained on Tuesday.
There was some hope Pedrosa might announce something, but a realistic expectation he would not. So the disappointment when the Repsol Honda rider told there was still no news on his future was much more limited at Assen than it had been at Montmeló.
Where do we stand? Sepang International Circuit boss Razlan Razali is at Assen this weekend, but unavailable for reporters, as he is in wall-to-wall meetings finalizing various details.
That suggests that the deal is basically done, and he is now going through the laborious business of tying up loose ends. There is a lot of work to be done to get a MotoGP team off the ground from scratch.
The team will consist of Dani Pedrosa and Franco Morbidelli, though Pedrosa has still not put pen to paper on a deal. In theory, Pedrosa could still choose to retire, but he is not talking like a man on the verge of hanging up his helmet.
Pedrosa still has the fire, the only question is sorting out how much he is willing to settle for at the Petronas Yamaha team. The bike will be a full factory Yamaha, possibly an update or two behind the Movistar Yamaha team, but still highly competitive.