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Jul 9, 2018

MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa Plans To Announce Retirement On Thursday At The Sachsenring

Dani Pedrosa (center) won the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, beating Marc Marquez (left) and Jorge Lorenzo (right). He has not won a MotoGP race since.

Former 125cc and 250cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa plans to announce Thursday that he will retire from racing at the end of the 2018 MotoGP season, after an 18-year Grand Prix career on Hondas. Pedrosa will make the announcement during a press conference scheduled at the start of the German Grand Prix weekend at the Sachsenring, Roadracing World has learned.

In recent weeks the 32-year-old Spaniard from Sabadell, Catalonia, has been mulling over an offer from Yamaha to race a YZR-M1 with an all-new Petronas-backed satellite team in 2019, but has instead decided to hang up his leathers.

Repsol Honda, Pedrosa’s home for the past 12+ seasons, announced on June 4th that it would not renew his current two-year contract beyond the end of 2018; the team subsequently signed rival and fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo to replace Pedrosa.

Since then Pedrosa has been in talks with Yamaha. It is believed he was seeking assurances from the factory regarding the personnel involved in its new satellite team, which will be part of the SIC (Sepang International Circuit) squad, which currently runs two riders in Moto3 and one in Moto2 and is sponsored by Malaysian oil giant Petronas.

However, after listless showings throughout the Dutch Grand Prix weekend at Assen--where Pedrosa qualified 18th, finished 15th, and wore an expression of resigned dismay throughout--he has decided to end his career.

He released a statement on July 3rd that read, “Finally I have taken my decision concerning my future. I want to inform everyone personally and at the same time. For this reason, in Sachsenring I will give a press conference for this matter.”

Over his 18 years in Grand Prix racing, Pedrosa has amassed some staggering numbers, 54 race wins and 153 podiums among them. Only six riders (Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Angel Nieto, Mike Hailwood, Jorge Lorenzo, and Marc Marquez) have won more Grand Prix races than Pedrosa, and winning two 250cc World Championships in two years in the class (2004 and 2005) ranked him among the greatest quarter-liter riders.

Like long-time rivals Rossi and Lorenzo, the longevity of Pedrosa’s success has been truly unique. By winning last year’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, he became the first rider in history to win at least one Grand Prix race in 16 consecutive seasons.

Despite scoring 112 premier class podiums in 13 years--including those 31 wins—Pedrosa never won the MotoGP World Championship. He came close twice: Pedrosa was catching Lorenzo in the 2010 title race before a stuck throttle caused a crash during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, and a broken left collarbone ended his weekend.

Two years later, Pedrosa once again found himself locked in a title battle with Lorenzo. Again luck deserted him at the crucial hour. Having qualified on pole position at Misano, a faulty tire warmer melted onto his tire, forcing him to start from the back of the grid. Scrambling to make up ground, he crashed in a first-lap collision with Hector Barbera.

In terms of podium finishes, Pedrosa is currently going through his most barren spell since his premier-class debut in 2001. He has not been in the top three in the last eight MotoGP races, and has only earned 41 points in that time.

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