Honda Factory rider Dani Pedrosa is under intense pressure as speculation grows that he has already lost his seat for 2017.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a lacklustre start to the season as he struggles to adapt to the new Michelin tyres and the spec ECU, and he was the first to admit his podium at the last round in Argentina was the luckiest of his career.
He struggled again yesterday at the Circuit of the Americas, failing to find enough grip from the front to fight for the lead. He dropped back early on in the race, but regrouped, dug deep and began fighting his way to the front. He moved past Rossi on lap two before the Italian crashed out of the race, and passed Aleix Espargaro on the third lap. He set the third fastest lap of the race at 2’04.950, and was closely chasing Dovizioso and Lorenzo, preparing to battle for second position, when he lost the front while braking into turn one on lap seven, the bike skipping out of control. Pedrosa tried to save the bike, but that seemed to make the bike skip more violently and he torpedoed a blameless Andrea Dovizioso off the Ducati.
What happened next sums up Pedrosa. Instead of running to check the bike, Pedrose made a beeline for the distraught Dovizioso, apologised and checked out his rival before remounting and eventually retiring. The first thing he did when he returned his damaged bike to the garage was head straight for the Ducati box to seek out Dovizioso personally, and apologise to his face. He did this without hesitation, in the full glare of the massed media. The actions of Dovizioso and the Ducati management showed that this gesture was well received.
That simple action shows why Pedrosa is THE class act of the field. He never moans, never points the finger and is the consummate professional. Yes, in there past there have been issues – he notoriously failed to forgive Marco Simoncelli and publicly refused to shake the Italian’s hand when he tried to apologise in a press conference, and anyone who has seen Hitting The Apex will know that this still haunts Pedrosa. Yet, this is a more mature Pedrosa, one who restored some credibility to the series when the bad blood between Marquez and Rossi split over towards last season’s climax – one which even drew the unflappable Lorenzo in.
Pedrosa may seem to be a miserable, dour and soulless rider, but in reality he’s articulate, intelligent and funny. His talent deserves a premier world title, though sadly that seems likely to elude him. Pedrosa we salute you…