The factory Repsol Honda team is a constant in the MotoGP title fight most years. Also a constant, is Dani Pedrosa who joined Honda back in 2006. Touted to be the next Valentino Rossi, he did come close to glory in 2012, but was beaten by eventual champion Jorge Lorenzo. Since then he has been on the decline as he never mustered a solid challenge.
These were his parting words: “I want to thank HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] for all these years of great success,” Pedrosa said. “I have grown not only as a rider but also as a person with them. I will always have HRC in my memories and in my heart. In life we all need new challenges and I feel it’s time for a change. Thanks, HRC.“
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis meanwhile, speaking to Dorna’s Simon Crafar at Catalunya on Sunday said: “Dani’s situation is something new that has come up in the last couple of weeks. If Dani is available and keen to ride a satellite Yamaha, it would be a really positive thing and a pleasure for Yamaha.
We’ve had discussions in previous years as well, and it’s always been a curiosity in my mind. So if Dani would finally be one of the riders, I think myself and Yamaha would be happy to see that.”
Now that same constant has been evicted by the very team that saw his potential replacing him with his arch-nemesis and compatriot, Lorenzo. His future as of now remains unknown. Meanwhile, the aforementioned 3 time MotoGP champ is looking to make a comeback towards the sharper end of the field after two disappointing seasons at Ducati by his standards. His performance slump mirrors that of former Yamaha teammate Rossi when he switched to Ducati. Teammate Andrea Dovizioso, on the other hand, competed for the 2017 title, which that definitely hurt his stock and arguably his legacy.
Danilo Petrucci has been rewarded the second factory ride at Ducati after a stellar series of performances and displaying a brilliant capability to tame the Desmosedici. With Yamaha being filled out by Rossi and Vinales, this leaves Suzuki with a vacant seat besides Alex Rins, who had a brilliant year in 2017 keeping the measure of his veteran teammate. This means that Australian Jack Miller will become the number one rider at Pramac Ducati Racing.
Aprilia have now confirmed Iannone, who will leave the Hatamatsu-based Suzuki outfit to join Aprilia’s quest to MotoGP relevance. This means Scott Reading has to depart, as will Bradley Smith from the new Factory KTM team. KTM will now field Pol Espargaro who outperformed Smith, and rising star Johann Zarco. LCR Honda has a vacant seat alongside UK star Cal Crutchlow.
This was before the following sequence of events occurred. Top Satellite squad Tech3 headed by Herve Poncharal announced their switch from Yamaha to KTM, announcing Moto2 star Miguel Oliveira and Malaysian Hafiz Syahrin. “We are very happy to join forces with Tech 3 in MotoGP from 2019 onwards,” said KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer. “The team has many years of experience and achieved a lot of great results in the championship. Their professional structure will make us stronger.“
Undoubtedly KTM have the ingredients to cause some waves in the paddock.
by Rutvik Bhaskar Perepa
Rutvik Bhaskar Perepa is a student at The University of Manchester working towards a MEng in Mechanical Engineering hoping to be on a placement after Year 3. He has had the privilege to travel around his home country, India and discover the rich heritage and diversity. His personal interests include Food and travel, history, Sport among many others. Often found in discourse on various issues ranging Engineering to Religious Practices, he never shy’s away from being expressive. He believes in being open minded, empathetic and analytical is the key to problems posed on a daily basis.