Embedded in the Honda team for all of his career. It now appears that both rider and team are beginning to lose faith with each other.
The general feeling is that Dani Pedrosa is one of those enigmas of sport. Think Michael Owen for Football, or Gavin Henson for Rugby. All three, supremely talented and gifted at their craft. For some reason though, none have been able to reach the very pinnacle of their profession.
Is that initial assessment completely fair in Pedrosa’s case?
Loyalty often counts for little in top level sport, however, it must be mentioned that Pedrosa has been a part of the Repsol-Honda factory team ever since his debut in the premier class in 2006. During that period, he has played a role for several successful campaigns alongside team-mates such as Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez and Nicky Hayden.
However, therein lies an undeniable fact. For all the success, Pedrosa has not lifted the Riders’ Championship trophy, and has only beaten one of the above team-mates once (Hayden in 2007). This is not to say that Pedrosa is unworthy of his place in the sport, he has 28 premier class grands-prix wins to his name, along with 3 championship crowns from the old 125 and 250cc categories. As his form showed at the end of last season, winning three out of the final four races, he’s still very much capable of challenging for top honours.
Additionally, one should not forget the torrid run of injuries which have plagued the diminutive Spaniard’s career. Ranging from numerous ‘arm-pump’ operations, to broken legs and slipped discs, these have all conspired to prevent Pedrosa from perhaps ever mounting a sustained title challenge. Throw in Marquez’ dominance at the team over recent years, and Pedrosa’s chances seem grim. Even more so, when following a post-race interview in Jerez, he was alleged to say his role in the team is “to produce safe rides”. This is not the Pedrosa we know and love. Let us play Devil’s advocate here, are Honda not allowing him to race, if it could challenge Marquez? Whether it is or not, the statement for race fans is worrying. Perhaps the time is right for Dani to move on.
Word around the paddock, if it is to be believed, is that Honda no longer view Pedrosa as the dependable asset he once was. Let us assume, that both camps part ways at the end of the season. What options would Pedrosa have? Surprisingly, a few. Most notably Suzuki, who have have made no secret that one of their riders is definitely leaving after this season. Pedrosa would not only be able to utilise all his experience and knowledge of premier class racing to help the team progress, the move to a new team might just give him that extra bit of motivation to fight to the edge for race victories again. Something, which we’d all dearly love to see.