It has been a long and eventful career for Dani Pedrosa, which draws to a close at Valencia. The Spaniard has been enormously successful: three world championships in 125s and 250s, 54 Grand Prix victories, 31 in the premier class, putting him seventh and eighth respectively all time. On Thursday, he will be made officially a MotoGP Legend by Dorna, to mark his achievements in the series.
Yet Pedrosa has always been an intensely private man. Like Casey Stoner, Pedrosa loved the racing passionately, but everything in between climbing off the bike after the latest race, and climbing back aboard for the next, that he could do without. He was always friendly to fans, and polite to reporters, but it was obvious from his media appearances that this was the one thing which interested him least of all.
At Aragon, I got a chance to take a look back at MotoGP with Pedrosa, and talk about how he had experienced it. It was a personal view of his life, and his approach to racing, rather than a dry look at his stats. Pedrosa talked about how he saw the series, about the things he loved and the things he hated, and about the difference between racing now, and racing in previous eras. He was open about himself as a human, and how his view of the world had changed through the years, and how, in a way, that played into his decision to stop racing.
Q: MotoGP has changed a lot in the time that you've been in it. How do you see the championship? What state is it in? What is going well, and what is going wrong? What were the good changes? What were the bad changes? What would you change if you were Carmelo?
Dani Pedrosa: In my opinion, and this I see every day in TV when I watch the news and you see all the political games from the right, left, and all this stuff, is that it's very easy to say from the outside, "Ah, I will do this and I will do that, and I will do the other, and blah, blah, blah." But you have to be in the big chair so you can say what you will do. Unless you have that pressure, with the circumstances, with all the inconveniences and all the good things, all the situations that surround that chair, unless you are there you can't just say, "I would." You can say it, of course, but you are not right. So this is something that I could only answer if I would be in his chair. But I would say that it's positive for the championship because every time we have more spectators. We are growing. Fans, sponsors and people, every time there is much more interest in MotoGP. I think it has been positive.
Q: I have a perspective as a journalist and as a fan, but as a rider?
DP: As a rider it's different than as a commercial boss, of course.
Q: Sometimes the choices that we make are good for the commercial side, but maybe not for riders. Is there anything that you as a rider think…?
DP: You as a rider, you have to adapt, otherwise you get out of the game. You need to develop in the championship. You have to be more versatile in being gentle with the press or being nice with sponsors, attending more and more events all the time. Still the racing is there, but every time it is less. It's more about the pre-race and the after race talk than the actual race.
This is positive in one sense because you can have more the guys that are not in the front, they have still some exposure. You talk about them. There are chats because this happened, that happened. While in the past, you only see the top three or five. So this is positive, also for the small teams and things like this. But of course for the rider, you have to be able to change your idea of what the championship is. But in my opinion when you want to be a top rider, you have to remember that this is racing, and racing is the only thing. At least, that's the point I like.
Q: That's why you race, for the racing.
DP: Yes, I race for the racing.
Q: Would you liked to have lived and raced in the 1970s, when it was turn up, race, and just live for racing? Casey was always one of those riders. You have riders who love the attention, love the show, who like the press. You are more like Casey. He retired very young because he was tired of it. You're more like that?
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