Alberto Puig is to take on a new role inside Honda. Brought into HRC as advisor to Dani Pedrosa, the former 500cc race winner is to focus his efforts more on talent development for Honda, starting with the Asia Talent Cup.
Puig has a long and very successful history of spotting and developing talent. The Spaniard was the driving force behind the MotoGP Academy, the forerunner of Red Bull Rookies Cup, and before that, had worked with Telefonica Movistar in the Spanish championship. That work had produced a string of highly successful riders in various classes, including several world champions. Alongside Dani Pedrosa, Puig was responsible for Casey Stoner, Julian Simon, Bradley Smith, Joan Lascorz and Leon Camier.
Having Puig work in the Asia Talent Cup is a clever move for Honda. The Japanese company is keenly aware of the importance of the Asian market for its sales, and bringing on talent from the region will be a powerful marketing tool. HRC also has a long history of backing Japanese riders in Grand Prix racing, and after a relatively lean period for Japanese talent, having Puig help spot and develop them early should help bring more fast young Japanese riders into the sport.
The career switch for Puig means that he will no longer be at Dani Pedrosa's side at every race, bringing to an end a long period of collaboration. But as Pedrosa gained more experience each year, he had less need of Puig. In a recent interview with Israeli TV commentator and journalist Tammy Gorali, Puig explained that he had less and less to teach to Pedrosa. The riding ability of the triple world champion had long since exceeded Puig's ability to offer advice for improvement, and his racecraft and tactical knowledge had also surpassed that of Puig.
There has been a marked change in Pedrosa in the past couple of years, the Spaniard growing more confident and a little more relaxed, and that maturity is another factor in Pedrosa no longer needing the support of Puig. Pedrosa will not be alone at the track, as his father travels to every race with him.
Below is the press release issued by HRC on Puig's new role:
New role for Alberto Puig in Honda Racing Corporation
Alberto Puig, who has been working with HRC since 2006 as Dani Pedrosa's advisor, will face a new challenge starting from 2014.
Alberto will undertake a new role as a supervisor for several of HRC's activities including the Asia Talent Cup and recruitment and management of young riders. Due to his new role, Alberto won’t follow Dani during the race weekend where he's been a common figure alongside the Spanish rider, who he has tracked since the very beginning of his career. Apart from Alberto, Dani's team will remain same as in 2013.
"We are very happy to increase Alberto's role in HRC and make use of his extensive knowledge in this World. He is a valuable asset to Honda Racing and we must utilise him and benefit from his wealth of experience. He is a respected member of the MotoGP paddock and I believe this will be good new challenge for him"
“This is an exciting new challenge for me with HRC and i am very grateful for the opportunity. Initially i will focus on the new Asian Cup but then as my role grows and I will assist with young riders and I will do my best to help HRC as much as possible. Regarding Dani, I hope he can fulfil his dream, and looking back over these years I can only be proud of what is left behind with all the titles in the 125cc and 250cc class and all the MotoGP victories"
"After many years working together on track with Alberto, next season he will not be by my side in the garage. He will be taking care of new projects and I feel that he has already given me so much that now it is time to change our relationship slightly. Anyway, I know that Alberto will be there for me if I need something, and this is the most important thing"