Bautista To Take Pedrosa's Seat In 2010?

For three years now, Dani Pedrosa has been Spain's Great White Hope, and the man that they have placed their hopes on to take only the second MotoGP championship for the country which is obsessed with the sport. And for the past three years, the hope that springs in Iberian hearts has been cruelly dashed, as Pedrosa has confirmed his status as a brilliantly talented rider who finds it immensely difficult to consistently win races.

There have been very good reasons that Pedrosa's ambitions have been thwarted: 2006 was his rookie season, and expecting a title that early is too much to ask; in 2007, the Spaniard faced an incredible Casey Stoner with a severely underdeveloped Honda RC212V; then last year, Pedrosa had to face one of the greatest riders of all time as he rode one of his finest seasons of all time. All entirely understandable, and no one can underestimate the size of the task he has ahead if he is to take the title in 2009.

But it appears that it is not just the Spanish MotoGP fans who are growing tired of waiting. More worryingly, Pedrosa's employer is starting to lose patience with the Spaniard as well. There had been paddock rumors that Pedrosa's position was no longer set in granite as early as the middle of last year. And these rumors started to gain ground after HRC signed the talented Italian Andrea Dovizioso as Pedrosa's team mate, against the express wishes of Alberto Puig.

And Pedrosa's problems seem to be growing. The incredibly well-informed Italian site GPOne.com is reporting that 2009 will be a make-or-break year for Pedrosa, and his final chance to win the championship. Both HRC and their Spanish sponsor Repsol are losing patience with Pedrosa's lack of results, wanting to see a better return on their investment in the talented Spaniard. In addition, HRC is keen to ditch Pedrosa's manager Alberto Puig, whose Machiavellian tactics are felt to be undermining Honda's authority. Repsol, meanwhile, is growing disenchanted with Pedrosa's unsmiling demeanor, which is less than helpful for sponsorship purposes.

So HRC and Repsol are looking to another Spanish prodigy to take Pedrosa's place, should he fail to take the title this season, in the shape of Alvaro Bautista. The Man From La Mancha is a lively and lovable character, with a proven record of winning. Bautista would be a huge boon to Repsol, and comes free of the baggage associated with a Svengali-like manager.

So far, this is all just rumor and speculation. But with GPOne.com citing "sources in Spain" for their story, and a general background rumbling of discontent with Pedrosa, there could be quite a lot of substance to this story. As incredible as it may seem for HRC to drop the man likely to be top Honda rider this year and certain to take 3rd in the championship at the very least, it is still very firmly within the realms of the possible.

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Comments

Personally, I do believe it would be a great mistake for Honda to Change Dani for Bautista; cheerful or not, I seriously doubt the later has what it takes to fight at the top with the likes of Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo or Dovizioso. Simoncelli already proved this year he can beat him on inferior machinery...

That said, coming from GPone, to me this news is more a way of putting some mediatic pressure on Dani's side of the Repsol garage than anything else. After all, Valentino is going to retire sooner or later, and Italy's title hopes remain in Dovi and Simoncelli. Getting rid of Dani is the fastest way to victory Italians have in the near future.

Total votes: 89

Bullshit. Simoncelli finishing the season ahead of Bautista in 2008 does not say that Bautista "does not have what it takes". Did you see him ride in 2006 and 2007? And did you see Simoncelli before 2008? I bet you didn't think of him as someone "who got what it takes" then either, did you?

Total votes: 74

Woaw, don't get it so badly... Maybe "not having what it takes" it's too strong in English, don't know. I've watched MotoGP and lower categories for as long as I can remember, and not many have come from losing on the lower classes with superior machinery to wining in the top class.
I don't think someone that can't get the title given the fastest ride on 250cc can be crowned in MotoGP.

Total votes: 92

But the problem is that this fastest ride obviously wasn't so great in the first two races of the 2008 season which affected the whole rest of the year. Had the machinery worked as it was supposed to and therefore Bautista finishing in front as he was set to, then I am convinced the rest of the season would have gone vastly different. Because the first races won by Kallio and Simoncelli were when "Bautista wasn't there". So I don't think that this flawed machinery was actually the best on the grid, albeit being the fastest. A title is not necessarily an indication of who the fastest or best rider is.
But we'll see. When he steps up to MotoGP next year, we can test if your theory proves to be true.

Total votes: 87

I could see them parting ways. Pedros/Puig made threats about leaving Honda last year thus don't seem all that attached to the team. I don't know where else they'd go, but maybe they'd follow money as much as opportunity like Hopkins. Racers can't race forever (no matter how much Capirossi tries to prove that wrong) and need to consider their financial futures. As well, if he doesn't contend for the championship to the end of the season I could see them wanting to jump ship with the hopes of doing well on another bike and 'showing everyone' that it was HRC's failing rather than Pedrosa/Puig. On the subject of Bautista, I'd say he'll have the chops to move up with Simoncelli in a year. Their battle in 250s will be fantastic this season. Simoncelli rode brilliantly this year but I think one shouldn't leave Pasini off the list of the riders to be the next champion from Italy. Too much up and coming talent!

Total votes: 73

The 2009 season hasn't even begun yet and one already speculates about the 2010 season...
This rumour/gossip/whatever you might call it only really exists, because there is the possibility that Pedrosa might not win the title and therefore Honda kicks him out. That seems highly unlikely to me. And I find the underlying assumption that Pedrosa "failed to deliver" extremely out of proportion anyway for a guy who was Rookie of the Year in his first season and then always finished in the Top 3. That is a really good record and other companies would be happy to have such a rider in the first place, title or not. Anyhow, I can't really imagine Dani parting ways with Honda, but we have to wait and see how the season goes anyway. Especially since there are now suggestions from Ezzy that rookies will not be allowed anymore to enter the MotoGP class on factory bikes. (http://www.as.com/motor/articulo/motociclismo-bautista-simoncelli-siente...)

Also, I have to strongly disagree with danielgr's comment that "Bautista does not have what it takes" to fight with the big guys. He dominated in 125cc in 2006 and beat even Valentino's records and he had an amazing first season in 250cc. You can not take the "only second place" result from 2008 and based on that judge that he can not compete with Dovi or Stoner - both of which he already beat in results, just to note that. And I'm sure you didn't think of Stoner as a champion candidate either when he moved up from 250cc? All I'm saying is that you should not be too quick to judge on some rider, just because there was another one who beat him in the rankings on "inferior" machinery and not take the circumstances in consideration. When Bautista wins the title this year, you'll probably think different.

Total votes: 91

that Honda have completely lost their way. I'm no Dani fan but he's without a doubt one of the top three riders currently in MotoGP and if Honda ever give him an 800cc bike that isn't crap I'm sure he'll do it justice.

Total votes: 82

I would love to see the Pedrobot dropped from Honda and from racing in general. His manager is many words that I wont post here out of respect to you guys. Seriously blaming Hayden for the 2006 crash that almost cost Hayden the championship? Puig is a washed-up, never was, trying to do what he couldnt through someone else. Pedrobot himself is a hack who either runs away with a race or just folds up under the slightest bit of pressure. If not for being on a factory Honda, he wouldnt even be competative. He has minimal talent, no work ethic, no ability to sell and no paddock etiquitte. Good riddence to bad rubbish I say!!

Total votes: 72

Minimal talent and no work ethic? Are you serious?
The guy broke both his ankles at the end of 2003, moved up a class, had virtually no preseason testing and still won his first race ever in 250cc after all that. That is minimal talent and no work ethic?
If either one was true, he wouldn't have won those three world championships to begin with and he surely wouldn't be anyway near competitive with his size on a MotoGP bike. You probably also believe that his height and weight is actually an advantage on a 800cc machine - where he can't even reach the ground with his feet when he sits on it. Sure thing.

Total votes: 85

Yes I am serious. He and his manager always find something to complain about rather than sack up and say I just didnt have it today. Its always the tires, or Nicky Hayden, or the bike. Its NEVER him.

Show me the work ethic. Where is his determination? Resting on his past laurels. Great argument. 6 years ago he worked hard!!!! After having the off season to recouperate. Rossi rode with a hole in his foot the week after a crash with Melandri, Hayden rode with a broken collar bone and a bent titanium plate. Other have riden through injury during the season. Having the offseason to recoup and rest as and example of hard work? Yea that'll show me! Worst argument ever. I notice that you cant bring up anything recent in his MotoGP history. All I see is a little bitch who whines about how tough he has it and his manager petting his head while putting gold bond powder on his butt tell him its going to be ok. Look at what happens when he races. He either runs away with the race or is relagated to a position and just stays there. He doesnt push, he doesnt try, he just accepts. That is no work ethic. There is no grinder mentality in him. Even Rossi grinds out races and that is why he is the greatest. Its not about how many titles he wins. Its about his mentality and how he rides when he isnt winning. Thats what makes him great. Hayden same thing in a different way. Clearly not the most talented rider out there, but Ill be damned if that boy isnt busting his ass out there 100% of the time. Even Stoner who I never viewed as a grinder showed me some grit last year in his battle with Rossi. Pushing so hard at the USGP that he injured himself. But damn if he was going to just give up. Pedrobot would have given up and you know that. If he doesnt race a perfect race he loses his confidence and just rides. If hes doesnt run away with something, he just accepts his positon. Minimal talent with a washed up, has been, never was manager.

Great 3 Championships in the 125 and 250 class. Sorry but no one remembers who won the AMA Supersport title the year after. Only the Superbike title is relevent. Same with the GP. 125 and 250 are nice to start on, but if you dont have a premier class title then who cares? Its a resume padder and to tout resume padders as evidence of his talent is a weak argument at best. Its like saying I must be smart because I went to Ivy League schools. Not the case. You just work hard enough to get into the Ivy League school. Pedrobot will forever be like a hated version of Loris Capirossi another 3 time world champion. Talented enough to ride with the big dogs and puts up some threatening numbers, but sporaticlly and is really filler on the grid. But at least people like Capirex. Pedrobot needs to prove me wrong. The racing world is filled with Capirexs and Pedrobots. They are what make racing possible. But dont try to hold them up like they are the most talented and hardest working guys out there. Because they arent. They should be the hardest working because they lack talent, but when you get paid that kind of money and can retire after 4-5 years of work without winning a title, you start to slack off a bit. You lose the hunger because you convince yourself Im doing well enough because your bank account shows a big number. You lose the edge. A fat bank account can do that to you. Then in the twilight of your career you start to get hungry again and make that one last push for a title hoping you can go out on top.

Dont think his height is an advantage, but I do believe his weight is an advantage. Lighter weight=better efficiancy and use of hp. The same 500HP in the GT500 yeilds different results than the 500HP in the Ariel Atom. So yes, by pure physics, his light weight is an advantage. Whether he can take advantage of it is a different story, but it is an advantage.

Total votes: 83

DK -- nice troll.

Re "work ethic": so when Hayden finished behind Pedrosa in '07 and '08, it wasn't because Hayden had a lesser work ethic, it was because the bike was built for Pedrosa. Will that be the excuse for Hayden in '09 also? Maybe there should be a separate championship for who does the most practice laps regardless of how slowly -- call it The Plodder Trophy.

Pedrosa's weight has advantages and disadvantages, the main disadvantage being in having little weight to shift during braking.

Total votes: 81

Honda dropping Pedrosa if he's the top Honda rider sounds about as plausible as Honda announcing their withdrawal from MotoGP.

Brookespeed: in 2007 it was Pedrosa who was threatening to leave Honda, but Puig disagreed and urged him to stay. A rare example of them not being united.

Total votes: 97

Old Man Jenkins and stv21- Whats the point of coming here and trolling? Im sure I could find a Pedrosa fan site to troll on if that was truely my intent. Wouldnt that be a better use of my time and troll energy?

Clearly this place is not a place where one is free to speak his mind. Ive used facts and examples to back up my opinions, something that none of you have done in return. In fairness stv21 did and I just dont agree with your reasoning so I presented my own opinion using your fact. Yes I used sarcasm, but I felt you were certainly being confrontational and trying to start something by implying that I was among the Hayden conspiracy theorists. The sarcastic "sure thing" sealed the deal for me. Why not just present your fact and ask for me to not be so sarcastic? I cant imagine that this little community has a troll problem and I can understand why you want to nip it in the bud if you think you spotted one.

Or I guess Im a troll for not like Pedrosa and liking Hayden because even though Perdo hasnt won a WC, its so obvious that Hayden's was a fluke right? Of course it is. *Rattles off list of reasons why Hayden's WC is a fluke and how we should have placed an asterisk next to it deeming Rossi the REAL champ that year*. I mean thats got to be it. And because I dont believe that Pedrosa is the second coming of Rossi and call him the Pedrobot because of how stiff he is at a presser Im a troll? Because I have a different opinion and mock Pedro and his manager I MUST be a troll. So I guess Ill be a troll for having a different opinion and mocking someone. Ill stop mocking Pedro, but I refuse to stop mocking his manager. The guy thinks he is a king maker and he is a nothing. Winning the 250cc does not impress me unless you are a new comer. Has no concept of being a team player and constantly looking for someone else to blame. This needs no verification. Pedro would be better off without him.

Ok Im done with my troll defense. Dont like it, I dont care. From here on out its only GP talk.

I dont think that using a 6 year old example is a great idea to prove a point. If it was a continued example and this happened again or every year then Id say sure, but 1 example over the course of 6 years? No one has said ANYTHING about the fact that other riders, announcers, writers as well as other fans have noticed that Pedrosa isnt a scrapper and a grinder and that he folds up right away under pressure from behind. And then after he is passed he just kind of rides the rest of the race being happy to still be second. Get in there!!! Fight it out! If he had the ability to finish 2nd and 3rd all the time and still win a championship Id give him credit. But his point lead is always gone by mid season. He finished on the box 11 out of 18 races. But Rossi did it 16 times and was on top 9 of those 16. And everytime Pedro was there, Rossi was ahead of him or right behind him. Pedro finishes on the box 2 times without Rossi and neither time he won that race. Im only looking at top 3 so I dont know where Rossi was in those races.

Its almost like he gets into a sort of "points racing" mentality too early. The begining of the season is where you have to go out and win. He seems to always be in a just get me points mode, which is fine, but Rossi is racking them up faster than he is. With a guy like Rossi in the series you can not just go into a stratigic points racing mode off the bat. You have to wait a bit to see where the standings are at mid season, then adjust.

At what point does Dani's inability to win a WC become a factor and something he needs to answer for? Again I make the comparison to Hayden. 5, 8, 3, 1, 8, 6. Those are his overalls. Yet the guy is completely discredited and for what? His being from Kentucky? His accent? His being American? What is it about this kid that make people say that John Hopkins is a better rider than him? That he was on factory Honda and didnt beat Rossi right away or win the title the year Rossi left? People were saying that Hayden was all washed up and didnt deserve to be up in MotoGP after the 04 season which was mared by language communication problems. Same thing the last 2 years as he was struggling with the 800s and he wasnt the only one. Melandri, Capirex, Gibernau, Biaggi have all fallen off the grid and been replaced or ride at the back of the grid now. These were guys that were just competing 2 seasons ago! This is Pedro's 4th year. If he doesnt win this year what does that say about him? I say that it says exactly what Ive been talking about. That he is a talented rider, just not talented enough to be a WC. Maybe that is a better way for me phrase things. Not as a no talent, because obviously to do what he does requires talent and alot of it. I was speaking the vaccum of MotoGP. In that sense, I do not think he is one of the most talented riders. I also dont think Hayden is either. But I feel that Hayden grinds out the work and always puts a positive spin on things and, more importantly, always shoulders the responsibility for the finish. Its always I didnt get it done, bike needs a little work, but we got some positive feed back ect ect. That is huge deal. As someone who has worked in racing as both a rider and a mechanic, the way the rider presents himself after a race is a very important thing. Done incorrectly it throws your team under the bus and makes the assumption that they are holding you back because they arent doing the best job they can do and that is just false. As the rider you are always to blame to for failure and never to take full credit for a win. In that sense its kind of crappy. A win means everyone did a great job and a loss means everyone did a great job except you. Pedro takes that its the bike's fault mentality either directly or through his manger's mouth.

I looked back to 1990 to see how long riders have been in the WC before they won the title.
Rossi-2 years
KR Jr-2 years
Hayden-4 years
Stoner-2 years
Rainey-2 years
Doohan-6 years
Schwantz-6 years
Creville-8 years
While in the 1990s it seemed that factories were willing to actually let a rider develop, in our face paced, get it done yesterday world, factories dont seem as willing to focus on rider development in the premier class anymore. Could be because the bikes are easier to ride than their 500cc era counterparts and factories can decide faster if someone has "it" quicker. 5 of the 8 champions in the past 18 race seasons have taken less than or 4 years to win a title. The only oddity is Scwantz who did it in 2 years on the 500s like Rossi. Look at the change to the bike designs as well. Its a commonly agreed fact that the MotoGP bikes are "easier" to ride and smoother then the 500s. Also notice that with the exception of KR Jr and Rossi, the other 2 "modern champs" in that group are all riding "the electronic bike." I would also put Rossi into the electronic bike group because the majority of his titles have come on those types of bikes, but the guy deserves his own group. The last 4 champs have all been in 500 or MotoGP for no more than 2 years before winning a title with Hayden being the only outlier with 4 years. Well its Dani's 4th year. Now other riders have been in the WC longer than 4 years before winning. Doohan, Schwantz, and Creville. But keep in mind what I said about rider development back when they won their titles. Creville was in Doohan's shadow for all those years before he got his title. Dani is THE guy this year. No more shadow. Will he get to stay because he is spanish? I dont know maybe. Creville got to stay. Pedro doesnt seem to do well under pressure. We have all seen it on track. Its his job to prove me wrong, but as of right now, recent statistics and trends point to him making it this year or not at all. Sorry guys, thats just the way I see it. While you cant say for certain that the stats are going to determine the outcome, I feel its a fair way to make an assesment. Or at least form an opinion. Because many other riders have come and gone without a championship and it is a different time and era than when Doo, Creville and Rainey won their titles. You still have to run the races and lets see if he proves me wrong. He obviously isnt my favorite rider so Im not rooting for him to win, but Im not rooting for him to fail either. I want a solid season of good racing.

Ive never made a defense of Hayden's attrocious riding in 07 and 08. Please show me where Ive done that. Do I think the bike was designed for a more diminutive rider? Yes. Do I think Honda did on purpose? Yes. Do I think they did it to specifically screw and drive Hayden away from the Honda paddock? No. There is no screw Hayden conspiracy at Honda. I dont buy into conspiracy theories. But I can form an opinion from the information in front of me. I think Honda did what they thought was best for Honda and Hayden just didnt fit into that. Few companies if any explain their reasoning for a particular race design unless its something REALLY radical and needs to be explained. They certainly wont admit to favoring one factory rider over the other. So it will always be a mystery. Like I said, I think Honda did what they thought was best for them to win. The 07 RC212V was just a further evolution of Honda's mass centralization theory. The first Gen 212 was clearly one of the smallest if not the smallest bike on the grid that year. Honda learned from both Hayden and Pedrosa in early 2007 that it was TOO centralized and needed to be reworked. Hence they opened it up a bit. That can not be debated. All one has to do is look at the results at the begining of 07, reexamine the results of later races and it shows the bike's considerable improvements on BOTH Hayden and Pedrosa's results.

Total votes: 95

DK -- You'll have to boil it down to one or two sentences, because while your pastime may be Pedrosa-hating, mine isn't Pedrosa-defending. I'd suggest those one or two sentences to be relevant to whether Bautista is going to take DP's seat in 2010.

Total votes: 89

Such a long response definitely deserves an answer.

Look, I'm simply tired of constant Anti-Pedrosa propaganda which pops up everywhere and mostly consists of childish insults, verbal abuse and mockery and maybe I just read too much into your first comment, so I'm sorry for that. I am no Pedrosa Fan, but I feel that the kid is suffering lots of media injustice, so I sometimes have the urge to jump to his defence, forgive me that.

On the term of not going on with my reasoning - I didn't think it was necessary. The one thing I am disagreeing with the most was your general assumption that Pedrosa has neither talent nor work ethic. Which is such a broad generalisation that it is very easy to falsify, which I did with the example of his first 250cc win. Making a difference between then and now has not been a part of your first comment, so I didn't know that you wanted me to list everything in chronological order. But also looking at his current track record in MotoGP, I don't see either lack of talent nor lack of work ethic. Like I said, his stature is certainly no help to ride the big bikes, so it already takes a lot of work for him just to be able throwing that thing around. He regularly covers more kilometers in practice than most other riders to try and set up the bike perfectly. I don't have a bunch of statistics on my hand, but I don't see a lack of work ethic there.

Also, I did not once say anything about Hayden or any conspiracies. A lot of what is going on or not going on at Repsol Honda is blown out of proportion anyway, because it's perfect fuel for the media and apparently everyone loves some mud-slinging. Alberto Puig is a completely different chapter. I agree that he is pretty much the definition of arse, but he is not Pedrosa. They might be inseparable, but they are not the same person. Dani should get rid of him and I'm sure a lot of the bad media about him would instantly stop.

On terms of his way of riding - Everyone rides differently. Stoner didn't do much good 1 on 1 battle in MotoGP either until 2008, and when he did, he lost out to Rossi. This is just the way Pedrosa rides and as long as he can still deliver results with that, he probably sees no need changing that. I have no idea if he might actually be afraid to do close battles (after all he's also not doing wheelies or burnouts, because he simply has trouble physically doing so), but either way I am personally not too concernced about that.

This is the fourth year for Pedrosa, sure, but looking at his first three seasons, I don't quite understand the amount of pressure everyone puts on him. It was a given that he wouldn't win the title in his first year. The second year there was a clearly superior Casey Stoner who nobody could catch, not even the mighty Valentino, and last season he actually lead the championship until crashing out at Sachsenring and injuring himself heavily. I'd say it was a pretty good season until then. And everyone deserves a second chance.

You made your point clear, but I simply don't agree with it. I'm sorry. But maybe we can agree that we disagree?

Oh, and sorry about the troll comment then. A troll clearly wouldn't make such an effort.
And I do believe that this is a place where people can actually say what they think. But not everyone has to agree with their opinion. ;)

Total votes: 86