Dani Pedrosa - Career - MotoGP

MotoGP

2006

Pedrosa made the move to 990cc MotoGP bikes in 2006, riding for Repsol Honda. Critics said that Pedrosa's tiny stature wasn't strong enough to handle a big, heavy MotoGP bike and successfully race in the premier class. Proving them wrong, he finished second in the opening round at Jerez on March 26, 2006. At his fourth ever MotoGP appearance, on May 14, 2006, during the Chinese Grand Prix race weekend held in Shanghai, he won his first MotoGP race. This win made him the exact equal 2nd youngest winner (tied with the late Norick Abe) in the Premier Class behind Freddie Spencer. He won his second MotoGP race at Donington Park and became a strong candidate for the MotoGP Championship. It was a memorable victory for Dani, who shared the podium first time with Valentino Rossi in 2nd place. He also took two pole positions in the first half of the season. Until the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, Pedrosa was 2nd in the Championship only behind his more experienced team-mate Nicky Hayden. However, he fell heavily during Free Practice and suffered a severe gash to the knee, which practically rendered him immobile. Pedrosa qualified 5th on the grid in that race due to the cancellation of the qualifying session proper due to heavy rainfall. He miraculously managed to finish 3rd in that race, only behind Rossi and Ducati rider Loris Capirossi.

However, in the next races, his form dropped and he struggled with the bike, moving him down to 5th place in the MotoGP standings. His poor performance continued at Estoril. After a promising start, he briefly ran 2nd before being passed by Colin Edwards and then championship leader and teammate Nicky Hayden. On lap 5, he and Hayden were involved in a crash. Pedrosa made a mistake whilst trying to overtake Hayden, slid and crashed out of the race, taking out Hayden on the way. This crash ended his slim chances of winning the championship and also caused Hayden to lose his lead in the championship standings, as Rossi managed to finish 2nd. However, two weeks later, Hayden recovered to win the championship while Pedrosa managed to finish in 4th place. This result clinched his 5th place in overall standings in his debut season, thus taking the title as Rookie of the Year in MotoGP category, beating fellow rookie and former rival in 250 cc Casey Stoner. At the final (post 2006 season) three day test of 2006 at Jerez Spain, Pedrosa put his 800 cc RC212V at the top of the timesheets (on qualifying tyres) edging out Valentino Rossi by 0.214 seconds. Rossi had been fastest for the first two days of the test. Pedrosa set a time of 1min 39.910 sec around the circuit.

2007–2008

Pedrosa continued to race with Honda in 2007 on their Honda RC212V, the new 800 cc bike. The machine had problems, and Pedrosa was taken out of races by Olivier Jacque and by Randy de Puniet, but he finished the season in second place behind Stoner and ahead of Rossi. He signed a 2-year contract with Repsol Honda for 2008 and 2009. In 2008 Pedrosa's problems with the RC212V continued when he was injured in the pre-season and missed developmental testing, but started the season well by scoring a podium at the first round. While leading the race and the standings in the German round, he crashed and was injured, keeping him from racing in the following two rounds. Michelin's performance in MotoGP deteriorated, resulting in Pedrosa switching to Bridgestone at the Indianapolis round. He finished third in the standings in 2008.

2009–2010

As in 2008, Pedrosa crashed in the 2009 pre-season and injured himself, keeping him from testing the machine before the start of the season. He placed 11th in the first round, but recovered his fitness in the following rounds. At the fifth round he injured himself again in practice and then fell during the race, putting him 33 points behind the leader. For 2010, Pedrosa reverted to number 26—a number he used when he first entered MotoGP—from number 2 in 2008 and number 3 in 2009. He took this decision to please his fans who had asked him to return to the number he had always used. Pedrosa won four races in 2010 and finished second in the championship standings behind Jorge Lorenzo.

2011

Pedrosa remained with an expanded three-rider Repsol Honda team in 2011, partnering Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner. Pedrosa took podium placings in the opening three races of the season, culminating in a victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix in May. On lap 18 of the following race in France, Pedrosa was involved in an incident with Gresini Racing's Marco Simoncelli while fighting over second place in the race; Simoncelli passed Pedrosa on the outside line into the Chemin aux Boeufs, but pulled in front of Pedrosa and as a result, Pedrosa clipped Simoncelli's rear wheel and fell to the ground. Simoncelli was given a ride-through penalty, while the fall left Pedrosa with a broken collarbone, which ruled him out until July's Italian Grand Prix, where he finished in eighth place.

Pedrosa claimed his second victory of the season at the German Grand Prix, after taking advantage of an error by Lorenzo with nine laps left in the race. He finished third at Laguna Seca the following weekend, before taking his first pole position of the season at the Czech Grand Prix. He crashed out during the race, but finished the next three races in second place, before winning his third race of the season – and the 400th race win by a Spanish rider – in Japan, where his title chances in 2010 had ended; and moved within one point of team-mate Dovizioso for third place in the championship. Dovizioso finished ahead of Pedrosa in both Australia and Valencia, while the Malaysian race, in which Pedrosa had qualified on pole for, was cancelled due to the death of Simoncelli in the first attempt to run the race.

2012

Pedrosa remained with Repsol Honda into the 2012 season, again partnering Stoner in a reduced two-bike effort. Pedrosa finished six of the first seven races on the podium, with a best result of second on three occasions. He won his first race of the season at the German Grand Prix, winning at the Sachsenring for the third year in succession; Pedrosa and Stoner had been running one-two in the race, before Stoner crashed on the final lap. At the Italian Grand Prix, it was announced that Pedrosa had signed a two-year contract extension with the Repsol Honda team from 2013 onwards, and would be partnered by Moto2 front-runner Marc Márquez. Pedrosa finished that weekend's race second, before a third place at the United States Grand Prix. Following the summer break, Pedrosa scored his second victory of the season at Indianapolis, winning from pole position as well as setting a lap record during the race. He followed that victory up with another at Brno, prevailing after a final-lap battle with main title rival Jorge Lorenzo.

At Misano, Pedrosa qualified on pole for the race, which was then delayed after Karel Abraham's Ducati stalled just before the start, forcing the riders to complete a second parade lap. Pedrosa's front tyre warmer became stuck just before his bike was restarted; the bike was removed from the grid – to be replaced by the back-up bike – but the tyre warmer was removed at the last moment and the bike was restored to the grid. However, Pedrosa had to start the race from the back, due to a rules infraction relating to the start procedure. He had managed to make his way into the top ten on the opening lap before he was taken out by Héctor Barberá, losing ground to Lorenzo, who won the race. In the Aragon Grand Prix, Pedrosa qualified second but took the victory, after passing Lorenzo on lap seven; the result allowed Pedrosa to close the championship gap to 33 points.

Read more about this topic:  Dani Pedrosa, Career

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