Spanish racer Dani Pedrosa yesterday confirmed that he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2018 season, with championship bosses confirming that he will be inducted to the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame on the weekend of his final race.
Pedrosa’s world championship career began in 2001 when he took two podium finishes on his way to eighth in his rookie year in the 125cc championship. The following year saw the diminutive rider win three times, finishing third in the standings, before taking the title in 2003 – despite missing the final two races after crashing and breaking both ankles in Australia.
A switch to the 250 class saw Dani dominate with a total of 15 wins and a title in each of his two years in the intermediate championship. In 2006 he moved to the MotoGP class and has won at least one race in each of the 12 seasons he has completed in the top class. His 54 victories makes him equal with Mick Doohan as the seventh most successful Grand Prix rider in terms of race wins.
Despite never winning the ultimate prize of the MotoGP world title, he has accumulated 31 race wins in 206 starts, but a tendency to pick up injuries has become a signature of his career. Pedrosa remained loyal to Honda for his entire career, racing only for the Japanese factory, and was a trusty deputy to world champions Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez in his time with the Repsol Honda squad.
Now 32, Pedrosa has decided to hang up his leathers, despite suggestions he may make a switch to the new Petronas Yamaha squad for 2019. “Next year I will not compete in MotoGP,” he said in an emotional press conference at the German Grand Prix. “It’s been a hard decision because I love this sport but I feel it’s the moment. I wish to thank Honda, Dorna, my sponsors, all my fans, who have always stood by me, and my family that is here with me now. Thank you.”
FIM President Vito Ippolito and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta (pictured above with Pedrosa at the press conference), confirmed that Pedrosa will become a MotoGP Legend at the season finale at Valencia. Pedrosa has not stated what he will be doing in 2019, leaving the door open to a possible, albeit unlikely, switch to the Superbike World Championship or the new MotoE series for electric motorbikes.