Puig reacts to Schwantz's Pedrosa comments

"You [Schwantz] were a great rider, super spectacular, but always in the shade, first of Eddie Lawson and then Wayne Rainey" - Alberto Puig.
Puig, Aragon MotoGP 2012
Puig, Aragon MotoGP 2012
© Gold and Goose

Dani Pedrosa's manager and mentor Alberto Puig has issued a strongly worded response to criticism of his rider by 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz.

Prior to the recent Austin MotoGP, in Schwantz's home state of Texas, quotes in the Spanish media suggested Schwantz felt Puig was a negative influence on triple MotoGP runner-up Pedrosa:

"Dani lacks nothing but he has too much, like Alberto Puig. Dani needs to reach another level by himself. He is like a child whose parents are holding him back.

"I like Dani, but he has been a factory Honda rider for eight years and never won anything. I would like him to prove me wrong [in future], but I don't think he will."

Given Schwantz's comments were translated into Spanish there is some leeway for misinterpretation, but Puig was clearly unimpressed, penning a lengthy response, as published by Spanish website elmundo.es.

Puig begins by comparing the career statistics of Pedrosa and Schwantz - Pedrosa ahead on overall wins (although 25-22 behind Schwantz for MotoGP/500cc victories) plus premier-class podiums and fastest laps.

"To say that Dani won nothing in eight years is typical of someone who does not know what he says and especially, it is very disrespectful."

Puig adds that, like Schwantz, Pedrosa has suffered more than his fair share of injuries - then turns his attention to Schwantz's own 500cc title.

"Mr. Schwantz, Dani has not won this [MotoGP] title yet, but let me tell you something that you are not going to like... You do have that [1993] title (which took eight years to win), but you won only because Wayne Rainey crashed at Misano and had to stop competing. If not, you would not have won that title.

"You were a great rider, super spectacular, but referring to the results, you were always in the shade, first of Eddie Lawson and then permanently to Rainey."

In defending his own contribution to Pedrosa's career, Puig states: "Since I retired from competition I have worked hard to help riders, mainly Pedrosa, but also at certain times riders like Casey Stoner, Toni Elias, Alvaro Bautista, Marc Marquez and Julian Simon. And all of them have been world champions.

"You, Mr. Schwantz, have had a riding school in Texas for years to help kids race and, to this day, no one has managed to even qualify to come and race in Europe. Nothing at all. In this field, zero success."

Puig concludes with a story from when he and Schwantz were sharing the same racetrack, during the 500c German GP at Hockenheim in 1994. Mick Doohan took a runaway win, with Puig - also on a Honda - finishing in third, less than two-seconds from Schwantz's Suzuki.

"In 1994 I was honoured to share the podium with you and Michael Doohan in Hockenheim... In that race my Honda was faster than the Suzuki, and I took advantage of the slipstream to pass on the long straights, until we reached the chicanes or the stadium and there, under braking, you were better.

"At the end, on the podium, I felt a great respect and admiration for you, for a man who had just taught me how to brake on the limit with a racing bike.

"Sadly, after reading your statements... that respect born on a cold day in Hockenheim '94 has disappeared completely."

In the original interview, Schwantz added that Lorenzo is favourite to win the 2013 title, Marc Marquez has a "great future" and warned that the series is "worth nothing" without Valentino Rossi.

Prior to reaching MotoGP, Pedrosa won the 125cc title in 2003, then 250cc title in 2004 and 2005.

UPDATE: Puig's full statement has now been published on the official MotoGP website - just as happened in 2008, when Puig responded to criticism from Nicky Hayden: Puig blasts Hayden.

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