Friday, August 12, 2011

Dani Pedrosa

Pedrosa made the move to 990cc MotoGP bikes in 2006, riding for Repsol Honda. Critics said that Pedrosa's tiny stature wasn't strong enough to handle a big, heavy MotoGP bike and successfully race in the premier class. Proving them wrong, he finished second in the opening round at Jerez on March 26, 2006. At his fourth ever MotoGP appearance, on May 14, 2006, during the Chinese Grand Prix race weekend held in Shanghai, he won his first MotoGP race. This win made him the exact equal 2nd youngest winner (tied with the late Norick Abe) in the Premier Class behind Freddie Spencer. He won his second MotoGP race at Donington Park and became a strong candidate for the MotoGP Championship. It was a memorable victory for Dani, who shared the podium first time with Valentino Rossi in 2nd place. He also took two pole positions in the first half of the season.Until the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, Pedrosa was 2nd in the Championship only behind his more experienced team-mate Nicky Hayden. However, he fell heavily during Free Practice and suffered a severe gash to the knee, which practically rendered him immobile. Pedrosa qualified 5th on the grid in that race due to the cancellation of the qualifying session proper due to heavy rainfall. He miraculously managed to finish 3rd in that race, only behind Rossi and Ducati rider Loris Capirossi. However, in the next races, his form dropped and he struggled with the bike, moving him down to 5th place in the MotoGP standings.

Dani Pedrosa interview after the Portugal GP

His poor performance continued at Estoril. After a promising start, he briefly ran 2nd before being passed by Colin Edwards and then championship leader and teammate Nicky Hayden. On lap 5, he and Hayden were involved in a crash. Pedrosa made a mistake whilst trying to overtake Hayden, slid and crashed out of the race, taking out Hayden on the way. This crash ended his slim chances of winning the championship and also caused Hayden to lose his lead in the championship standings, as Rossi managed to finish 2nd.

However, two weeks later, Hayden recovered to win the championship while Pedrosa managed to finish in 4th place. This result clinched his 5th place in overall standings in his debut season, thus taking the title as Rookie of the Year in MotoGP category, beating fellow rookie and former rival in 250 cc Casey Stoner. At the final (post 2006 season) three day test of 2006 at Jerez Spain, Dani put his 800 cc RC212V at the top of the timesheets (on qualifying tyres) edging out Valentino Rossi by 0.214 seconds. Rossi had been fastest for the first two days of the test. Dani set a time of 1min 39.910 sec around the circuit.
Pedrosa continued to race with Honda in 2007 on their Honda RC212V, the new 800 cc bike. The machine had problems, and Pedrosa was taken out of races by Olivier Jacque and by Randy de Puniet, but he finished the season in second place behind Stoner and ahead of Rossi. He signed a 2-year contract with Repsol Honda for 2008 and 2009.
Dani Pedrosa
In 2008 Pedrosa's problems with the RC212V continued when he was injured in the pre-season and missed developmental testing, but started the season well by scoring a podium at the first round. While leading the race and the standings in the German round, he crashed and was injured, keeping him from racing in the following two rounds. Michelin's performance in MotoGP deteriorated, resulting in Pedrosa switching to Bridgestone at the Indianapolis round.He finished third in the standings in 2008.
As in 2008, Pedrosa crashed in the 2009 pre-season and injured himself, keeping him from testing the machine before the start of the season. He placed 11th in the first round, but recovered his fitness in the following rounds. At the fifth round he injured himself again in practice and then fell during the race, putting him 33 points behind the leader.

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