Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi thought Dani Pedrosa will continue in MotoGP and perhaps sign up with Yamaha after his stint with Honda.
Following Honda’s decision to take up Jorge Lorenzo to partner Marc Marquez for 2019 MotoGP season, Pedrosa eventually decided to hang his boots all together – thereby ending his 18-year long world championship career.
While he contemplated his future, the rumours spread of him in talks to ride the Yamaha in a satellite outfit, the team which was confirmed to be SIC Racing taking over the Angel Nieto’s entry from the 2019 season.
This led Rossi to believe that Pedrosa will sign with Yamaha which didn’t happen. “It’s a great shame, I think, for MotoGP because our sport loses one of the best riders in the last years, in the last period,” said Rossi.
“It’s also a great shame that Dani never win a world championship in MotoGP, I think he deserved minimum one. It’s also quite early but this choice is very personal – I don’t expect, I thought that he would continue, maybe with Yamaha, but he changed his idea I think, he thought a lot. It’s a great shame for everybody.”
Elaborating on Pedrosa style, Rossi felt the Spaniard made stark improvements on his riding over the years, especially when racing in wet conditions. “Dani is always a very technical rider,” he said. “His style is always very clever and clean.
“It is good to follow and try to understand, he’s always very clean in braking, tries to not slide a lot – and was also one of the first ones to pick up the bike in acceleration very early. I think [this] is one of the particularities of his riding style.
“He worked a lot on himself [though] and over the years he improved on his weak points like especially under the rain. At the beginning [of his career] he was very-very slow, so I think it is that,” added Rossi.
Pedrosa’s former teammate Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with whom he has spent seven years racing together in 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP as well, had much to learn from Pedrosa especially as he was always a step ahead in his career.
“For me Dani, he was a really strong rival,” he said. “I arrived in the world championship one year after and I remember one race when I did a wildcard in Mugello in 2001. It started to rain and that time we didn’t have any experience.
“So, we were at the back and we were together because we didn’t have any experience and we were very slow, I remember very well that part of the race. [And then] he was my teammate in HRC, in 125cc and 250cc, he was always a bit faster than me.
“I tried to study a lot from him and learn a lot of things from his talent, his way to work during the weekend and it was always a big reference for me for a long-long time, so it’s nice to see him in this condition.
“Because everybody [will] arrive in this moment and if he feels OK, ‘it is the moment [that] I take this decision [and] I am happy’ [and] he’s happy about what he has done then I am happy for him,” he said.
One thing which Dovizioso learned early in his career following Pedrosa was approaching a race weekend which the Spaniard was good in. “[I learned] especially [from] the way he pick up the bike, it was amazing,” he said.
“So in 125cc, 250cc already did a big change in that way, and still in MotoGP continuing in that way. For my riding style, I studied a lot and that was one of the worst points for me, and I was trying to learn as much as possible to try to repeat or go in that way.
“And also in 125cc and 250cc, the way he would prepare his bike for the weekend in practice, I think it was very-very good. For me, it was an important situation to have in front to understand, to try to follow that way and I learned a lot and I was able to improve my way to approach the weekend.”
Like for Dovizioso, even Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Suzuki’s Alex Rins credited Pedrosa as their point of reference to come into the sport. Meanwhile, Pedorsa’s teammate Marquez had much good words as well for his fellow countryman.
“Dani is one of the most important riders in the category MotoGP with all his career and especially because [he] was and is my teammate,” started Marquez. “I want to say thanks to him because he was one of the heroes for all the kids.
“We were following our dreams and he was one of my reference and we share the box with him and share many good moments. Of course it is always difficult to understand that he will arrive on this moment.
“[But big] thanks because I learnt many things from him and he was one of the best riders and as Carmelo [the boss of Dorna] said he will be Legends MotoGP rider, [which] he deserve it and sure it was a pleasure to be his teammate.
“I can [now] say that when I arrive in MotoGP, he [Pedrosa] taught [me] how to ride on the bike. I mean, of course, I arrive there, I take the bike, I was not so bad, but then [for] all the details, who was my teammate? My teammate was Dani.
“I had the honour to learn about him because he was riding really good, like he said in his conference, his physical condition was some of a disadvantage in MotoGP but in way of technique and performance, the sensibility with the bike, he’s one of the better riders in MotoGP and then I learn many-many things from him,” he summed up.
While Pedrosa has said he won’t race anymore but Honda has already offered him a test role, much like what Casey Stoner does with Ducati currently. “We were talking about it, it’s always interesting,” said Alberto Puig.
“He knows the opinion from Honda so in case he wants to continue, testing – which we don’t know, because it’s his life and we respect his decisions – it will be his decision if he wants to stay in Honda to be a test rider or not.”