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Honda Renews MotoGP Contract With Pedrosa Through 2018; Viñales Rumored Move to Yamaha

051616top-i

One more piece of the MotoGP puzzle has been put on the board for 2017. Rather than leaving for Yamaha (as many speculated), Dani Pedrosa has renewed his career-long relationship with Honda by signing a contract that extends his Factory Repsol team status through 2018. Meanwhile, the Spanish press is reporting that Maverick Viñales has signed a two-year deal with Yamaha to be the teammate of Valentino Rossi beginning next year on the Movistar team. Official confirmation of the Viñales deal is expected this Thursday at Mugello.

Here is the press release from Honda regarding Pedrosa:

TOKYO, Japan, May 16 2016 – Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to announce the renewal of its contract with Dani Pedrosa for an additional two years. Both parties are pleased to reach the agreement ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix, which will be the 30-year-old Catalan rider’s 250th in the World Championship.

Pedrosa has been a Honda rider for his entire career, beginning with his 2001 Grand Prix debut in the then 125cc class. A 125cc and double 250cc World Champion, Pedrosa entered MotoGP with the Repsol Honda Team in 2006 and has finished title runner-up on three occasions (2007, 2010, 2012) and third an additional three times (2008, 2009, 2013). He has achieved more podium finishes for the Honda factory than any other rider, with a total of 142, including 51 victories, just three fewer than Mick Doohan’s Honda record.
Pedrosa heads to this weekend’s Italian GP sitting fourth in the Rider’s Championship.

Dani Pedrosa
“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. I want to give 100% this weekend at the Italian GP.”

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President
“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!”

Dani Pedrosa World Championship Statistics

MotoGP
Starts: 171
Podiums: 101 (28 x 1st, 38 x 2nd, 35 x 3rd)
Poles: 28
Fastest Race Laps: 41
Best World Championship positions: 2nd (2007, 2010, 2012), 3rd (2008, 2009, 2013)

250cc
Starts: 32
Podiums: 24 (15 x 1st, 8 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd)
Poles: 9
Fastest Race Laps: 15
World Champion: 2004, 2005

125cc
Starts: 46
Podiums: 17 (8 x 1st, 4 x 2nd, 5 x 3rd)
Poles: 9
Fastest Race Laps: 5
World Champion: 2003


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51 Comments

  1. ZX10R_AC says:

    Why am I not surprised that Honda will give this guy another 2 year contract, yet they blew out Nicky Hayden? Granted Nicky Hayden wasn’t one of the “aliens” but he was very loyal to Honda and got them a championship in the premier class. Pedrosa? All he’s done is get boatraced by a succession of teammates to the championship and played second fiddle to the Yamaha clan for his entire MotoGP career.

    Like someone else said….must be good to be Spanish….

  2. Vrooom says:

    Given he’s spent his entire GP career with Honda that probably makes sense. These are his last years. He’s a good rider, probably 4th or 5th best out there right now, depending on where Vinales falls in riding the Yamaha.

  3. Will Parker says:

    Dirck Edge says:
    May 17, 2016 at 11:27 am
    Gigi Dall’Igna has changed how the race effort is managed. For the better, obviously.

    Your probably right. Problem is, Ducati is enamored with top speed. They always have the fastest bike in a straight line when you need a cornering machine. Perhaps they’ll change their approach with a corner speed maestro like Lorenzo..we’ll see.

  4. paulu says:

    dani posted the fastest lap at the the last MotoGP did he not?

  5. GKS says:

    Apparently, at this stage of his career, Dani is content as a #2 rider for HRC. Usually among the leaders, or very close, he is there to take points away from other teams championship contenders and also pick up the occasional win. The HRC team line-up seems to work well together and they have done well to re-sign Dani.

  6. Wendy says:

    Dani has shown a lot of grit, but hasn’t done the one thing Honda hired him to do. Despite being treated like a red headed stepchild, Mr. Hayden did that act. As a previous poster wrote, it is good to be Spanish.

  7. VLJ says:

    Just for mickey…

    The Fading Smurf, a.k.a. Reluctant Dani, gets two MORE years on the Repsol Honda? Seriously?

    Yep, it’s good…no, great…no, it’s all important to be Spanish!

    Wow. All I can say is…bwaaahaaa!!

    • mickey says:

      Good to see loyalty rewarded. He may have not won a premier class championship (even though he has come close 3 times) to go along with the 125 WC and two 250 class WC he has won for Honda, he is still one of the top ranked riders in the history of the sport and has been on the podium more times than anybody besides Agostini and Rossi I believe. I like the guy, quiet, unassuming, and a class act. Glad to see him back in Repsol colors for another 2 years.

      Go #26

      • VlJ says:

        Loyalty rewarded? Whose? Dani’s?

        How difficult do you think it has been for Dani to remain loyal to to the best bike/team/organization in MotoGP? What was he going to do, give up the Ultimate Ride and the Fattest Paycheck to go…where? Yamaha never needed him, and no other team was remotely competitive.

        As for Honda, of course they don’t extend that same loyalty to Dani if he’s not Spanish, not with his record. He’s been good, but how could he not be, riding the best bike in the sport for his entire career?

        • mickey says:

          Lol it just kills you doesn’t it VLJ ?

          • VlJ says:

            Nah, it doesn’t bother me at all. I like Dani, but it’s plain to see what’s been going on over the past decade. Beyond that, I have no stake in the game. I just recognize it for what it is, and what it is is downright comical in its blatant transparency.

          • mickey says:

            perhaps a reward for:

            Over the fifteen years following his debut race in 2001 at Suzuka aboard an Honda RS125R, Dani Pedrosa won 3 World Titles (1 x 125cc – 2003, 2 x 250cc – 2004, 2005) and achieved more podiums for the Honda Factory than any other rider, with a total of 142 including 51 victories (8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 28 x MotoGP).

          • VLJ says:

            Of course he did those things. He was on a Repsol Honda for his entire career, and his non-championship-winning time on that bike dwarfs that of ANY OTHER Honda rider, ever. Most weekends, he had a front-row start right off the truck, and a podium finish locked up before the light even turned green. Often as not, all he had to do was stay upright while all the lesser bikes crashed out and/or floundered well behind.

            The only other Honda rider that was ever given such a long tenure on the factory bike was five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan, who was utterly dominant.

            Dani’s a Hall of Fame rider not because he was ever the best, or close to the best; rather, he’s simply had an unusually lengthy, consistently above-average career.

            He’s basically the Don Sutton of MotoGP. The difference being, there were others who had similar careers to Sutton’s, while no rider in the history of the sport was ever given a lifetime pass to the podium, courtesy of a permanent, tenured position with the top team and best bike in the paddock.

          • mickey says:

            Nah, doesn’t sound like it bothers you at all lol

            To me it only makes sense that a 3 time world champion who has scored more podiums for Honda than anyone else should maintain their ride. While true he has not won a premier class championship ( finishing 2 nd 3 times and 3 rd three times) his many podiums and wins have kept valuable points out of the hands of rivals which could have won championships for them, helping his own team mates win Championships instead. Also his podiums have helped Honda win many constructors titles. In a team sport with 2 riders per team, his riding has been an invaluable aid to both Honda and his fellow teammates. There is more to a season than just winning the championship, although that is the individuals goal. The mfg also has that goal but it doesn’t matter to them which member of the team wins it, only that they win it.

            Running backs score goals, but they need linemen to block the defense so that their running back can score. Doesnt make the lineman less valuable.

          • VLJ says:

            Right. They hired Dani to serve as a ten-year pulling guard for their actual star riders. On a two-man team.

            Uh-huh.

            Man, you’re really grasping at straws now. LOL

          • mickey says:

            No of course that is not why they hired him, it’s just worked out pretty well that way, wouldn’t you say?

          • mickey says:

            Look there has got to be a reason Honda keeps renewing Dani’s contract besides the fact that he is Spanish. There are lots of Spaniards that race motorcycles, some of them pretty good. So why Dani? Why not another up and comer in MotoGP? Why not a hot shoe like Marquez from Moto 3 or Moto 2. Although not raking in the money that Marquez or Lorenzo or Rossi makes, he is still making more than they could be paying a Vinales or a Rins. There must be a reason Honda keeps rewarding Dani with one of arguably the 4 best seats in the house, and it’s not just because he is a Spaniard. I suppose when another Spaniard starts finishing ahead of him, when another starts to consistantly get on the podium, when someone starts proving they would be a better bet on that Repsol Honda than Dani has been, then he will risk losing his ride.

          • VLJ says:

            No, they don’t keep rehiring him solely because he’s Spanish—if he was crashing out every race or finishing fifteenth all the time they wouldn’t retain him, of course—but he wouldn’t still have his Repsol Honda ride if he wasn’t Spanish.

            Not a chance. Repsol would have never given a non-Spaniard the opportunity to become a career-long caddie for their championship-contending riders. Dani would have been gone no later than 2012, after Casey Stoner had clearly relegated him to second-tier status. Even if the factory had let him stick around that long, it would have meant seven years without a championship, which is something Honda had never allowed.

            Again, not a chance. If Dani was British or French or American, he would have been punted to a satellite bike a long time ago. From there, no longer garnering podiums and occasional wins, it wouldn’t have been long before he was relegated to an Open bike, or an off-brand ride, and that would have been the last we would have heard from the guy.

            This has always been the natural career cycle in Grand Prix racing, particularly for the factory Honda riders. With only two factory rides, Honda has always been quick to pull the trigger and move on to the Next Big Thing, once their current rider proves he can’t win a championship.

          • mickey says:

            So humor me and play the devils advocate, and you tell ME why Honda retained him so long.

          • VlJ says:

            Because he’s a Spanish rider that puts up decent numbers, and Repsol wants a nice Spanish boy flying their Spanish colors.

            What do I win?

          • Dave says:

            Amazing. Dani would have his Repsol ride if he were a Martian. He’s one of only a couple of riders who manages to *win*/races. Repsol sure didn’t mind having an Aussie..

          • VlJ says:

            If he were a Spanish Martian, true, and of course he’s one of only four riders winning races. He’s on one of the only four bikes capable of winning races. Notice that only those same four bikes have won every race for the last half decade. Yes, every last one.

            Yes, Honda will hire an Aussie, but if he wants to keep his job he’d better win the championship at some point. He will not be granted lifetime tenure on the factory ride if he never wins a title.

            in the history of the sport, only Dani Pedrosa has ever been given such a cushy gig.

          • Dave says:

            Dani is the only non-championship winning rider to win as many races as he does. Every other factory rider that has come through faltered. He’s unique and I still maintain that he’d hold that spot regardless of nationality. It’s not like he has a marketable personality..

          • VLJ says:

            “Dani is the only non-championship winning rider to win as many races as he does.”

            Along with Andrea Dovizioso, he’s also the only factory Honda rider who never won a Premier Class championship. Of course Dovi was only given three years, then he was gone. All of Dani’s other teammates won MotoGP championships. Not to mention, no other bike besides the factory Yamahas and Hondas have won a MotoGP race in many years.

            Point being, winning races on a Repsol Honda is to be expected. There are only three other bikes on the grid that can steal a win from you, and one of them is also a Repsol Honda. Put together ten-plus seasons on a Repsol Honda and you sure as hell better have amassed a decent number of podiums and wins.

            You also better have won a championship. Dani never came close. Even his 2nd-place finishes saw him well behind the champion.

            “Every other factory rider that has come through faltered.”

            Really? His Repsol Honda teammates have been Nicky Hayden (won a world championship), Dovi (never won a title), Casey Stoner (won a title), and Marc Marquez (won two so far). During his time with Repsol Honda, the Yamaha factory riders have been Valentino Rossi (won multiple championships), Colin Edwards (nope), Ben Spies (nope), and Jorge Lorenzo (multiple titles).

            No other teams matter. The factory Yamahas and Hondas are the only teams to win a race, never mind a championship, over the past half decade. The lone exception, going all the way back to 2007, was a Ducati ridden by Casey Stoner, who also won a title as Dani’s teammate at Honda.

            Bottom line, Dani Pedrosa has been handed the MotoGP equivalent of third base, and he’s never figured out how to score a single run.

          • mickey says:

            “Point being, winning races on a Repsol Honda is to be expected. There are only three other bikes on the grid that can steal a win from you, and one of them is also a Repsol Honda.”

            So what happened to Nicky? 6 years on the Repsol Honda and what, 3 wins total?

            Hayden was incredibly lucky to win the title in 2006 with 2 wins and 252 points while Dani has been incredibly unlucky ( 7 wins, 15 podiums and 332 points in 2012 and still lost the title)

            What has been going on the last decade is an incredible number of wins (28) and podiums (100) for a very talented rider and apparently in the eyes of Honda there is no one else on the MotoGP circuit that could do a better job on their second Honda. Circumstances may dictate that Dani never wins the title. It happens. It takes more than sheer talent sometimes. Sometimes it takes sheer luck. For some the stars align, for some they don’t. He has still been one of the most talented MotoGP racers the world has ever seen, and Honda is lucky to have him.

            Rumors were that Yamaha wanted him for their second bike to fill Lorenzo’s spot if he didn’t re-sign with Honda and that says something doesn’t it? No Spanish conspiracy going on over at Yamaha that I know of.

          • VLJ says:

            What do you think happened with Nicky? Two words: Valentino Rossi.

            Back when Nicky joined Repsol Honda, a certain GOAT (in his prime) was his teammate and gobbling up most of the race wins. Then that same GOAT moved over to Yamaha and continued to capture the lion’s share of the victories.

            Two more words for you: world championship. Nicky won one, despite his own teammate pulling an Iannone and nearly costing him the title.

            Dani never had the GOAT as a teammate. When Dani had Nicky as a teammate and they were on equal terms, Nicky beat him. It wasn’t until Alberto Puig and Repsol forced Honda to focus the development of their bike on Dani that he surpassed Nicky, yet he still never came close to winning a title.

            Meanwhile, two more of Dani’s teammates went on to win titles, while Dani continued to pick up the scraps, courtesy of his all-conquering bike and racing team.

            You want to talk about luck? Okay, Dani’s best year, 2012? Where was Valentino? Where was Nicky? Who was Dani’s teammate? Who was Lorenzo’s teammate?

            Rossi and Nicky were at Ducati, removing those two from the equation. That meant more giftwrapped wins and podiums for the #1 Repsol rider.

            Dani’s teammate was Casey Stoner, who, after winning the title the year previous (destroying Dani in the process), spent much of 2012 on the sidelines. That meant more giftwrapped wins and podiums for Dani, riding the lone Repsol Honda, a machine that was untouchable for all but one other bike in the field.

            Who was the second factory Yamaha rider? Snakebitten Ben Spies, who couldn’t grab a croissant from the food truck without having his bike suffer another mechanical DNF. Again, more giftwrapped wins and podiums for Dani.

            In 2012 Dani only had one guy to beat, and he had no teammate to worry about.

            Again, born on third base, and you think he hit a triple.

          • mickey says:

            It’s ok, rag on Dani all you want. Doesn’t hurt my feelings. Believe me, I understand your dissapointment. My guy, much to your chagrin, with an enviable record of 28 wins and 100 podiums is deservedly riding a Repsol Honda for another 2 years, while your guy, after a mediocre 13 year career in the premier class, 6 of those on the best machine on the planet, amassing a total of 3 wins in 216 starts while racing against the same guys, has been relegated to the minors trying desperately not to be beaten by 4 guys deemed by most, as unqualified to race in the big leagues, and a bunch of guys no one has ever heard of. That would make anyone bitter. Blame Dorna, blame Repsol, blame Spain, blame Honda, blame Rossi, blame Stoner, blame Pedrosa, blame Ducati, heck blame me if it makes you feel better, because it’s been a decade plus long giant conspiracy to make your guy look bad, or at the very least not very good. Clearly everyone can see that.

    • Will Parker says:

      What? It’s the Repsol dream team..a Dwarf and a Hot head..

  8. Stuki Moi says:

    Hope Suzuki finds a good replacement for Maverick. They are way exceeding expectations (at least mine) so far this year, but it’s hard for any rider to turn down a spot with one of the top two, who have been so consistently dominant for so long.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I agree, the only riders that can really afford to turn a spot down with Yamaha are Pedrosa and Marquez. I would have liked to have seen him, stay with Suzuki, though. Iannone is looking for a job. He wouldn’t be a bad choice for Suzuki.

  9. waitman says:

    Selfishly, I was hoping he’d go to Yamaha. Having said that, I respect his decision. It’s nice to see loyalty every once in awhile. I hope he finds his decision rewarding. Nothing but the best to a class act. But damn, it would have been nice to see him on the Yamaha.

  10. pacer says:

    Just read that Andrea Iannone is out at Ducati, and talking to Suzuki. I know it was unrealistic, but it would have been cool if Pedrosa went to Suzuki and Iannone went to Honda.

    • Dave says:

      Interesting to hear they let Iannone go. Safe money would’ve had Dovi leaving. Maybe Iannone goes to Yamaha to fill Lorenzo’s seat. Aren’t he and Rossi friends?

      PS: gotta separate the “Report Post” and “Edit” buttons. With so many of us using touch screen devices these days, this is going to drive the moderator crazy.

      • Scott says:

        I know, on my iPad, the “edit” button ends up literally on top of the “report” button! It’s like playing that game Operation trying not to report yourself… BZZZZZZ!

      • TimC says:

        I had no problem reporting myself – more than once – using a regular mouse to try to click “edit” over the weekend.

      • Will Parker says:

        More proof Ducati is INEPT. Signing a dude who is like 30 to a multi year contract over a younger, faster rider with more potential. Ditto Honda. Seems like the only smart thing Ducati has done lately is sign Lorenzo.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Dall’Igna is anything but inept. Ducati has worked with both Andreas very closely for years, so I think their perspective of the pros and cons of each rider is pretty clear. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, though. Dovi is no slouch, has arguably ridden better than Iannone this year and last, and may even up his game some with Lorenzo on the team.

          Pedrosa is a very good rider, but I don’t really understand Repsol Honda’s decision with that one unless Marquez really pressed them to keep Pedrosa. Some guys buy into the Spanish conspiracy theory, but I don’t believe that is the case as there are any number of young Spanish hotshots that could fill the seat and achieve similar results to Pedrosa.

          • Will Parker says:

            Ask Rossi what he thinks of Ducati management. Something along the lines of “Japanese engineers and companies don’t work this way.” they have ONE, count it, ONE championship in nearly fifteen years of premier class participation. A fluke, when the speed of the Ducati caught rivals off guard. I could list myriad examples of ineptness…we’ll just have to agree to disagree…

          • Dirck Edge says:

            Gigi Dall’Igna has changed how the race effort is managed. For the better, obviously.

          • Dave says:

            Pedrosa’s record is enough to see why in my opinion. The stars haven’t aligned for him to pull down the title yet, but he’s been “best of the rest”, more often then not. Very consistent and he must work very well with the organization for development.

            As for Ducati hiring Lorenzo, if he’s on the market and you’ve got the money, I can’t see how one could justify NOT signing him. He;s a multi time and defending champion who’s won on a sometimes inferior machine. Who could be better for the Ducati? lol

          • VlJ says:

            Yes, there are other Spanish riders, but turn it around and ask yourself the obvious question: If Dani was British or Colombian or American, would he still have his ride? Would Repsol Honda have signed him for yet another two years?

            I think you know the answer.

            This isn’t so much a Spanish conspiracy as it is a simple reality.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            VLJ, if I am being honest, I think Repsol really does want a Spanish rider on the team since Spain is their largest retail market. But I also think as long as there is one Spanish superstar on the team (Marquez), that is enough for them. I think the decision was really pushed by the Honda camp, and I am not sure why. It may come down to admiration and the fact that Pedrosa is a team player. Or maybe the fact that he is a known quantity (and a good one) makes him as good or a better gamble than the other options on the market. I don’t know.

            Like you’ve said many times, this is kind of unprecedented. I’m starting to run out of valid reasons and may soon have to join you guys in the tinfoil hat club.

          • VlJ says:

            You are far too bright to overlook the obvious: namely, that Dani’s career isn’t merely “kind of” unprecedented; it is, in fact wildly without anything close to a precedent.

            Thirteen years on the number one ride in the sport, with nary a single championship…all while watching each of his teammates come and go while winning championships?

            There has never been anything like it. Mamola, Biaggi, Gibernau, etc., all the perennial bridesmaids of Grand Prix racing, none of them were ever granted a lifetime ride with Repsol Honda, or any other top-shelf factory ride.

            It’s not just about being a loyal guy and a good soldier, either, otherwise Nicky would still be there. He was as solid as they come.

            This is utterly transparent.

          • TimC says:

            “the top team and best bike in the paddock” (from another comment), “Thirteen years on the number one ride in the sport” pretty tall statements…”one of the best” sure but the Hondas have had their various issues through the years.

          • VLJ says:

            So have the Yamahas, and all the others. No bike is perfect, but it has generally been accepted throughout the paddock that the Repsol Honda effort represents the pinnacle of the sport. Bare minimum, it’s 1A, along with the factory Yamaha.

            Regardless, Honda has always expected its factory riders to win championships, otherwise they’re soon shown the door. Dani is the lone exception, and with each passing year this one exception becomes ever more glaring.

    • TexinOhio says:

      “As for Ducati hiring Lorenzo, if he’s on the market and you’ve got the money, I can’t see how one could justify NOT signing him. He;s a multi time and defending champion who’s won on a sometimes inferior machine. Who could be better for the Ducati? lol” by Dave

      Someone better for the Ducati would be a rider that can handle a bike that’s not as refined and stable as the M1.

      If the bike isn’t set up just so, Lorenzo hasn’t been able to handle it. The M1 is the most stable and balanced overall on the grid. That Duc is going to be twitchy and angry and it doesn’t seem like JL can deal well with a bike that has a temper.

  11. Bob says:

    I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I would love to see Dani win the championship one year. He is always in the hunt…….

    • mickey says:

      Would love to see it too, but don’t think its ever going to happen at this point. He has proven to be one of the best riders in Gran Prix history. Not a bad accomplishment for someone insiders said was too small to ride a GP machine.

      • Will Parker says:

        Yea not bad for a jockey size rider. But Pedrosa the ttken a lot of hard falls in his career. Seems to have caught up with him..