Last week on May 16, 2016, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) announced that Dani Pedrosa’s contract has been renewed for the next two years, at least until 2018. The man has been racing for Honda his entire career and his illustrious relationship with the automotive and motorcycle manufacturer is posed to continue.
“I'm very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team. I'm very grateful to Honda for the trust they've shown in renewing with me for an additional two years. I think it's best for me to continue with the company I was with at my very first race. I'm happy that the negotiations have been quick, and now I can just focus on racing,” said Pedrosa.
Meanwhile, Shuhei Nakamota, executive vice president of HRC, was also pleased and expressed his gratitude in a statement.
“We're very pleased to renew our contract with Dani, and we really appreciate his loyalty to Honda and HRC. We've been working together for many years, but we always see in Dani the same passion and dedication. His experience is very important for helping our technicians to develop our bike, and we'll do our best to help him to demonstrate all his talent,” said Nakamota.
Dani Pedrosa made his Grand Prix debut in 2001, riding 125cc bikes and becoming 2003’s world champion in that class. He then moved up to 250cc, becoming the youngest person to win the class championship—and two seasons in a row at that, both in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, Pedrosa joined MotoGP’s Premier Class under Repsol Honda, earning the team 6 podium finishes. He finished in second in 2007, 2010, and 2012 and third in 2008, 2009, and 2013.
The announcement finally laid to rest rumors that the 30-year-old Spaniard would be moving to Yamaha, and even older suspicions that Suzuki would sign him on. Modern MotoGP riders are relatively petite but Dani Pedrosa’s exceptionally small frame has been a widely discussed issue throughout this career. Critics had doubted his physical ability to manipulate the large motorcycles to their limits with the lightning speed required, but Pedrosa has proven his rare brand of talent time and time again over the years despite sustaining multiple injuries.
For the 2016 season, Pedrosa’s points put him in fourth place so far with only 12 fewer than Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. At the recently concluded round in Italy, Pedrosa finished fourth behind Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, while Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez finished in second behind Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa admitted his difficulty in overtaking the Ducati’s top end power on the straights, with his Honda RC213V additionally encumbered by a full tank of fuel. Still, he remarked, “It was a better race than the last few we’ve had.”
With his future secure in the caring hands of HRC, Dani Pedrosa showed his relief at the Italian GP.
“I’m very happy to arrive at the Italian GP having already renewed with Honda and aware I will be able to keep working with a team I know and trust. With our future well lined up we’ll be totally free to just focus on the work to do on track,” added Pedrosa.