Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa announced his retirement from the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, MotoGP, after what's been a successful but also painful 17-year Grand Prix career. The announcement was made Thursday at a special press conference held at the Sachsenring ahead of Sunday's German Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Spanish rider admitted that it wasn't an easy decision to make, but that the time has come to hang up the leathers and focus on other aspects of life. Pedrosa also expressed that he had other viable options to continue racing in MotoGP, but felt that after his 2019 seat was given to Jorge Lorenzo it was the right time to call it quits.
"This is a decision that I've been thinking for a long time, it's a very, very hard decision because this is the sport I love," said Pedrosa. "But despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don't live racing with such an intensity as before – and I now have different priorities in my life."
It's not clear what those priorities are, but what Pedrosa did make clear was that the constant rate at which he suffered severe injuries during his career accelerated this announcement. The Honda rider has broken his collarbone several times, in addition to his shoulders, arms, ribs, and many more. In 2013, Pedrosa came extremely close to clinching the MotoGP championship, until a crash in Germany fractured his collarbone once again and was forced to miss a race; helping his teammate Marc Marquez steal the lead and eventually win the championship.
"What led me to this decision is above all the intensity with which I've lived racing all my life," he added. "One way or another, I'm sure injuries speed up the process to reach this point. Previously, sportsmen finished their careers much earlier than now. That's very good, but the injuries that I had sped up the process."
Despite the physical obstacles he's had to overcome, Pedrosa has accomplished "much more than he could've ever imagined" in MotoGP. The Spanish rider has amassed a staggering 54 Grand Prix wins, with 31 of those taking place in MotoGP, 153 podiums, and currently sits seventh in the all-time MotoGP victory list. In addition, he won the 125cc world championship in 2003 and back-to-back 250cc titles in 2004 and 2005. However, the MotoGP title has eluded him despite finishing runner-up in 2007, 2010, and 2012.