Dani Pedrosa’s biggest MotoGP rivals have paid tribute to the Spanish rider after he announced he will retire at the end of this season, with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso explaining how learning from him improved both of their racing.

The 32-year-old has confirmed he will leave the sport at the next of this year, having been replaced by Jorge Lorenzo at Repsol Honda for 2019, and while he was linked with the new SIC Petronas Yamaha project the Spaniard will end his career at Valencia this November.

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After confirming his retirement plans in a special press conference ahead of the German MotoGP an hour before the regular pre-event media conference, all of the riders present paid tribute to Pedrosa and how he impacted each of their careers.

“I want to say thanks to him because he was one of the heroes to all the kids when we were following our dreams,” Marc Marquez, who has been Pedrosa’s team-mate since 2013, said. “He was one of my references and we shared the box with him and shared many good moments.

“It is always difficult to understand but everyone will arrive at that moment so I say thanks to him as I learnt many things from him. He is one of the best riders and as Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO] says he’ll be a legend MotoGP rider so he deserves it. It’s been a pleasure to be his team-mate.

“When I arrived in MotoGP he taught me how to ride the Honda. Of course I arrived there and I was not so bad but then all the details, I had the honour to learn about him because he was riding really good.

“When everything is in place on his day he is nearly unbeatable. He just starts the race and opens a gap to one second, two seconds and then it is impossible to catch him again.”

Valentino Rossi, who has competed against Pedrosa throughout his entire premier class career in MotoGP, says he’s sorry to see the Spaniard leave the sport and was surprised to hear him turn down the opportunity to join the new satellite Yamaha squad from 2019.

“It is a great shame for MotoGP because our sport has lost one of the best riders in the last few years,” Rossi said. “It is also a great shame that Dani has never won a world championship in MotoGP and I think he deserves a minimum of one.

“It is also quite early but this choice is also very personal. I didn’t expect it, as I thought he may have continued maybe with Yamaha. But he’s changed his idea and he has thought a lot so it is a great shame for everybody.

“Dani was one of the first ones to pick up the bike in acceleration very early which I think is one of the particularities of his riding style.”

Andrea Dovizioso says he relished having Pedrosa as a team-mate during his three years at Repsol Honda between 2009-2011 and felt during his early premier class career he was continually a reference point he tried to improve upon.

“For my riding style I would study him a lot and that was one of the worst points for me [early acceleration] so I was trying to learn as much as possible to try to repeat it,” Dovizioso said. “In 125cc and 250cc the way he prepared for the weekend and practice I think it was very good and for me it was an important situation to have him in front of me to understand to try to follow that way. I learnt a lot and was able to improve my style, my way to approach a race weekend.

“Everybody arrives in this moment and if he feels it is okay and it is the moment to take the decision I am happy if he’s happy with what he’s done.”

The three younger members at the press conference at the Sachsenring also reflected on seeing Pedrosa as a MotoGP star during their junior careers with both Spaniards Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins sees their fellow countryman as someone to look up to.

“Dani was our reference when we were kids,” Vinales said. “When I started to watch the bikes he was starting to win in 125cc so he was always a point of reference.

“I had a good relationship with him it has been a pleasure riding with him, with one of your idols, I wish him the best luck and it will be a shame not to race against him because he was one of the best. It was his decision so I want to congratulate him on his long career.

“I really appreciate what he did in his career and also what he’s done in MotoGP giving a lot of years and winning races, podiums, so also it is a pleasure for me to be on the track with him,” Rins added. “I hope all the best for him for the next few years.”

Pedrosa, a 125cc world champion (2003) and two-time 250cc world champion (2004 and 2005), has claimed 31 MotoGP premier class victories and has won at least one race in every season he’s contested since 2002.

The 32-year-old does, however, hold the unwanted record of most MotoGP race wins without securing a top class world title.

“He is already a legend, multiple-time world champion in the lighter classes and what he did in the MotoGP classes with his size he had such an immense talent to overcome the difficulties he had with the MotoGP bike,” Jack Miller concluded. “It has been a pleasure to ride with him on track.

“I hope that he finds something after racing that he can be so passionate about.”

MotoGP bosses confirmed Pedrosa will be named a legend at the 2018 season finale in Valencia and he will enter the Hall of Fame.



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