Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa has officially announced that he will retire from racing at the end of 2018.
The 32-year old made the announcement in a press conference ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.
The Spaniard has been part of the Repsol Honda family since 2006. But he was left without a ride for next year when the team signed Jorge Lorenzo as his replacement for 2019.
Lorenzo’s Honda move left Pedrosa as a potential target for Yamaha’s new satellite operation, the SIC Racing Team.
“This is a decision that I’ve been thinking for a long time, it’s a very, very hard decision because this is the sport I love,” Pedrosa said.
“But despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don’t live racing with such an intensity as before – and I now have different priorities in my life.”
Dani Pedrosa won the 125cc title in 2003 and back-to-back 250cc titles in the two following seasons. He has been a consistent frontrunner in MotoGP despite frequent injuries.
He has 31 wins and 112 podiums in his premier class career. Sadly, he has come agonisingly close to a MotoGP title, finishing runner-up on three occasions.
The current season has is Pedrosa’s worst ever start to a MotoGP campaign. He is currently lying 12th in the standings after eight races and has yet to score a podium.
Although he has no premier class title of his own, Pedrosa has helped Honda to seven MotoGP manufacturers’ championships.
“I would like to express how fortunate I feel to have had this experience, this opportunity in my life,” Pedrosa continued.
“It’s been an amazing life to be out racing for such an important team and in front of all the fans.
“I can say that I achieved way more than I expected and I’m very very proud of all I’ve done in the sport.”
Pedrosa’s decision to retire will blow the rider market wide open in 2019. The SIC Racing team, which has signed a three-year deal with Yamaha, will now focus on alternative options to partner its expected first signing Franco Morbidelli.
Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and KTM’s Bradley Smith have both placed their names in the Goblet of Fire for the SIC ride. Meanwhile, Moto2’s Lorenzo Baldassarri and Fabio Quartararo have also emerged as strong contenders.