Dani Pedrosa and Honda only found out yesterday that crew chief Mike Leitner has decided to leave at the end of the MotoGP season.

Pedrosa and Leitner have worked together since 2004, in the 250cc class, going on to win 26 MotoGP races and finishing title runner-up in the premier-class on three occasions.

"It was yesterday so we are still considering for the future," said Pedrosa, when asked if he had any replacement in mind.

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You only found out yesterday that he was leaving?

"Me and everybody, yeah."

So a surprise?

"Well... we found out yesterday."

Asked if he would prefer to promote someone from within his group of mechanics to take on the role of crew chief in 2015, Pedrosa added: "I don't know yet."

Pedrosa was rumoured to be considering a crew chief change earlier this year and, although he then looked set to continue with Leitner, the 52-year-old Austrian has taken matters into his own hands.

It is thought that Leitner is especially unhappy at the decision to replace some of Pedrosa's mechanics for 2015.

Repsol Honda team manager Livio Suppo described Leitner's move as: "A last-minute decision by Mike. We respect it. It was a question of changing lifestyle."

While there is plenty of time to find a new crew chief for 2015, Pedrosa is currently tied for second in the standings with Valentino Rossi and also facing pressure for the runner-up spot from Jorge Lorenzo.

Pedrosa was speaking in the Phillip Island paddock after finishing tenth in Friday practice for the Australian MotoGP. Like most riders the Spaniard was struggling for rear grip, with his best lap time 0.687s from pace setter Lorenzo.

"I had a lot of spinning," he said. "No traction or edge grip so I cannot really open the throttle. At this track if you lose traction you lose a lot of lap time. Corner entry is not a bad thing but on corner exit I am struggling the most.

"We will have to change something on the bike to make more traction, but when the tyre is not giving a good feeling it is difficult. Anyway this is the same tyre, one of the same, that I was using here in the pre-season test, but it doesn't feel absolutely the same."

Phillip Island is the first of three remaining rounds.


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First Puig and now Leitner leaving Dani.
Perhaps they made a judgement call on the direction his career was headed.