Dani Pedrosa: The Perennial MotoGP Alien

Pedrosa talks about being a MotoGP Alien, managing the highs and lows of racing and the season so far.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa
Not many riders are able to maintain a high level in Grand Prix for over a decade, but Dani Pedrosa has.Photo: Repsol Honda

He may not be flashy. And he may not have the collection of world titles like some of his MotoGP competitors, but Dani Pedrosa has managed to stay at the top level of the sport for 11 years when most riders have faded away. Going into his 12th MotoGP season, the Repsol Honda rider has 29 Grand Prix wins, as well as 23 victories and three World Championships in the support classes.

The competition level through that span of time has gotten tougher, but Pedrosa has managed to stay in that elite club of “aliens” and he’s quite happy to have that moniker associated with him.

DP26 alien
Pedrosa has a combined 52 wins in the World Championship, 29 of those in the premier class.Photo: Repsol Honda
Dani Pedreosa interview
Photo: Repsol Honda

“Very nice, obviously,” Pedrosa said. “It’s good when you are in the top of the sport and you have the privilege to be constantly on the podium or fighting with the wins with one of the best guys in history… And also in a very high-quality era, because it can be that you are long time in the sport but there are one or two guys but now for the last seven, eight years there’s been many good guys in the top. We are talking about four to five guys, so it’s just a super feeling to be part of it.”

The Spaniard has managed to maintain his “alien” status in the midst of the highs and lows of racing; some dominant victories and near championship wins along with a host of injuries and just bad luck. When asked about those high and low moments over the course of his MotoGP career so far, Pedrosa preferred to leave those low moments tucked away in the past and focus on the positive.

DP26 and MM93
Pedrosa (26) and his teammate Marc Marquez (93) topped the podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas, a nice way to rebound after the pair crashed in the same corner at different times at the Grand Prix of Argentina.Photo: Repsol Honda

“Sure, there are a few times that I enjoyed a lot,” Pedrosa said. “Like at the beginning of my MotoGP (career) I wasn’t fast in the wet, and at certain points I did the change. I improved and I won, I got on the podium… So, this was one of the things that I was super happy about.”

To stay at a top level in racing, it’s all about how a rider can manage those highs and lows. How hard is it as rider to deal with that roller coaster ride?

“How hard? It depends,” Pedrosa answered. “This is different for every person. I think it depends a lot on the attitude you have at the right time, how you handle some situations. Sometimes the same situation will affect you less or more – it depends on the moment. So, these things, it’s all relative to the time you are living. Of course, there are lows that have been very, very hard and there are other lows that weren’t that bad to recover. Also, there are highs that at certain points is the breath of air that you just needed. Sometimes some highs are highs.”

Pedrosa still racing
A lot of fast riders have come and gone but Pedrosa remains.Photo: Repsol Honda

One could look to last season’s win at Misano, a great boost for Pedrosa after struggling for most of the season on the Honda under the new era of spec-ECUs and regulated development opportunities during the season. This year, he is more comfortable on the bike, but until his podium finish at the Circuit of The Americas he wasn’t happy with the results. There’s still work to do.

“Well, we figured we have some problems now and it’s obviously easier to see clear the things when you race than only when you test, because you put everything on the limit and you race against the rest,” Pedrosa explained. “Then you see the advantage and there are advantage points. Also, you test a few different tracks in maybe one month so you get much more info about what problems are staying in different situations and what problems are only in certain moments. So, learning about this, trying to figure out which is the next move.”