Pedrosa named MotoGP Legend as retirement looms this weekend

Spanish ace inducted into the Hall of Fame at Valencia.

Image: Supplied.

Three-time world champion Dani Pedrosa has been named a MotoGP Legend ahead of hanging up his leathers at the end of 2018, with the Spaniard inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at the season finale at Valencia.

Pedrosa won the 125 championship in 2003 and the 250 title in 2004 and 2005, and is one of the most successful riders of all time in the premier category.

After taking the third most podiums of all time behind only Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Giacomo Agostini, Pedrosa retires at the end of 2018 with 54 premier MotoGP class victories to his credit.

“First of all thank you to Carmelo and thank you for the nice words,” said Pedrosa.” Obviously it’s a very emotional moment you never expect it to arrive when you’re a kid, and now to be here is a bit strange but I’ happy because I felt a lot of support from all the fans, a lot from all the paddock.

“I’m really, really happy about this moment to see my rivals of a lifetime here. I feel that MotoGP gave me a lot of things in my life because basically I’ve always been here and I learned a lot in life thanks to MotoGP. In the same way I’m very happy that I could give something else to the sport like Carmelo was explaining.

“When I started it was a new generation winning races and championships, not only me but everyone here on the front row. This is good for me because it’s a nice feeling that we opened a door for a new generation. Luckily I don’t know all my numbers which is a good thing!”

Asked about a standout moment, the Spaniard added: “Obviously the moment that stands out for me is the first championship because you achieve something you dreamed of. You know you can get a podium or win a race but to get a championship it’s something that, as a kid, you see these guys going so fast and you don’t believe it.

“So when you achieve it all the emotions come out, and not only that year but for life because you’re been dreaming of it since you were born – watching races on TV and wanting to be that guy. So that day is unique and that’s what makes you, it’s the drive that makes you want more and want to keep going and get through the tough times – and the reaction from the people and the love you get is something I could never imagine so for me that’s the most beautiful.”

Pedrosa joins a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington and the late Nicky Hayden.

The number 26 is set to take on a development role with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing next year, while his position at Repsol Honda will be fulfilled by multi-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Source: CycleOnline.com.au

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