Pedrosa: “Stoner opened my eyes”

Talk about Daniel Pedrosa It’s always going back to one of the best times in the MotoGP World Championship. Maybe not to the level of equality enjoyed by the paddock right now, but seeing such iconic drivers retire always makes you feel nostalgic. Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo… everyone now enjoys a life far from the highest level of motorcycling, not competition, because except for the Australian, everyone has already started a new stage on four wheels, filling that void left by a withdrawal and looking for the adrenaline that a world champion always needs in his life.

In addition to cars The former Repsol Honda rider is also still linked to KTM in his role as a test rider. A project that he joined three years ago and of which, without a doubt, he feels a lot of pride every time one of the mounts from the Australian factory climbs onto the podium. In fact, in five races they have already added a victory with Miguel Olvieira in Indonesia and a second place with Brad Binder in Qatar. “We have worked to the maximum in these three years, the results have rewarded us at this start of the season. In general, in this period of time we have seen a great improvement if we think about where we started from”, Pedrosa values ​​in an interview with MotoSprint.

However, and despite the intense work they continue to do from the factory, the arrival of the new generations and the progress of their rivals are not making things easy for them. MotoGP enjoys an equality that has never been seen before, not even in his years at the highest level with the Honda, fighting Yamaha and Ducati. Everything is open for practically the entire grid and, although the Catalan admits that he still has to “know them better and study them over time”, Some of those young drivers have already caught your eye: “I like Joan Mir’s driving style, I appreciate Enea Bastianini very much for how strong he finishes the races, managing the tires well, Pecco Bagnaia himself was scary last year… There are good drivers among the ‘new'” . But for Pedrosa it all comes down to a single captain: “Marc Márquez continues to be a benchmark”.

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In fact, The man from Lleida is still the only one from that well-known ‘club of five’ who is still standing up in MotoGP. Márquez took Stoner’s place at Honda after his retirement at the end of 2012 and, since 2018 with Pedrosa, the retirements of Lorenzo in 2019 and Rossi in 2021 They have closed a golden era for the World Cup. Now Marc is the main attraction in the paddock, while the youngsters are gaining more and more ground. But, perhaps, that magic of the five club it might not happen again. “The five of us had something special”, Pedrosa admits to the Italian medium. “At the driving level Stoner would answer you, at the head level Marc, who was also good at developing extreme driving, with his elbow on the ground. I was lucky, even unlucky (laughs), to know them all well. And I can say that Stoner opened my eyes with his driving.” admits the Spaniard, who, given the high level of competition (and his bad luck with injuries), could never reach a top-flight World Cup.

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But if I rescued Dani Pedrosa during his time in MotoGP for something, apart from his indisputable talent on the bike, it is his attitude in the paddock. Contrary to what Valentino Rossi squandered, the Spaniard was always much more shy than his rivals and, perhaps, that sometimes worked against him: “I don’t like crowds, it’s well known. When there are so many people around me I feel less comfortable. When Valentino became the benchmark in MotoGP, back in 2004, 2005, if you weren’t like him, maybe you weren’t well regarded or people weren’t even interested in meeting you. It was true for me and for Casey Stoner himself, who was very introverted. Now a lot has changed, there are riders with different characters, but everyone is welcome.”

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