MotoGP: Pedrosa Talks About Rossi And Marquez, Lorenzo And Iannone... Plus More On RC213V Woes

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa recaps the Catalunya race, and gives his unusually frank opinions on everything from Maverick Viñales to the issues affecting the 2016 Honda RC213V

Dani Pedrosa 2016
Dani Pedrosa is still looking for more improvement from the RC213V.Photo Courtesy of Repsol Honda

After scoring his second podium finish of the year at his “home” MotoGP race at Catalunya two weekends ago, you’d think that Dani Pedrosa would be fairly happy. Instead, the Spaniard called the weekend “difficult”, and still feels that the current Honda RC213V has underlying problems that are being masked by the results achieved by him and especially Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez. Pedrosa has become increasingly vocal about those issues in the hopes that HRC will continue to work on a solution.

There were other news items going on during the GP weekend that got the public’s attention, including the tragic accident during practice that claimed the life of Moto2 racer Luis Salom. Pedrosa was one of the many personally affected by Salom’s death, as he grew up racing minibikes with Salom and his family. “We held a moment (of silence) ahead of the race, it was moving, because you realize many things. Often we only focus on results, or what one person says to another, but moments like that are when you realize the value of other things in life. It was a very emotional moment and I was very happy to be with the whole paddock.”

Interestingly, when Pedrosa was asked for his opinion on Valentino Rossi and Marquez shaking hands in parc ferme after the race in an apparent show of possibly ending the feud that has been brewing between the two, he was uninterested—or perhaps wants to avoid any involvement whatsoever in that situation. “That's between them,” remarked Pedrosa. “In my life I’ve learned to pay attention to my own stuff.”

One situation that Pedrosa isn’t afraid to comment on was the controversial collision involving Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone that ended with both riders crashing out of the race. Pedrosa brought up a unique perspective on the incident that many have overlooked. “The crash was obviously Ianonne’s fault, but an unintentional error,” said Pedrosa. “He braked late, but Jorge has a style that involves starting to brake before most other riders. Iannone moved the bike and was out of control a little, and during that lack of control he went on the inside instead of to the outside. Jorge was unlucky because he lost valuable points. But again, I don’t think it was intentional on the part of Ianonne.” Pedrosa then mentioned another aspect of the accident that could have played a role. “It is also a new corner (the circuit was changed to the F1 layout after the Salom accident, with both turns 10—the turn where Iannone and Lorenzo collided—and 13 becoming much tighter and slower), which means it’s difficult to control the bike and react in so few milliseconds.”

Dani Pedrosa 2016
A veteran in the championship, Pedrosa is not afraid to offer his opinion on MotoGP talking points.Photo Courtesy of Repsol Honda

One of the major frustrations for Pedrosa with the current Honda RC213V is that they are unable to gain any grip with the harder tire option at various circuits. Because he had to use the softer tire option at Catalunya, Pedrosa was forced to ride strategically in order to ensure he had enough tire in the closing laps of the race…but that brought him into the clutches of Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales.

“When choosing a medium tire, I have to ride with a different strategy,” reveals Pedrosa. “I had to control my speed a lot early in the race so as not to burn up the tire, but Maverick saw that I was going slower in the corners and attacked. He took advantage of that and passed me at the entrances of the corners, but I think that he made a bad choice. In the chicane there is only one line, and you lose a lot of time if you are off the line as it is very narrow with very little speed. That was where he caused us to lose all contact with the lead group.”

When asked if there was a specific problem he has with the hard rear tire, Pedrosa simply replied, “It doesn’t work for me. Whenever I’m in situations where I have a hard tire option, I don’t use it because I can’t, it’s impossible. However whenever there are situations that need a hard tire, Valentino usually wins. On the other hand, when there are races that need a medium compound, Jorge or Marc wins. The tire is much more even (in its characteristics) and Valentino suffers more.”

Dani Pedrosa 2016
Pedrosa (26) says that he would have chosen a different engine spec, but it was his teammate's choice.Photo Courtesy of Suzuki-Racing.com

“Marc has had some good races,” continued Pedrosa. “He risked just enough, and has been more consistent. But he likes the bike more, this bike fits him, it works with his riding style.” Pedrosa then said that he really had no choice in the matter of selecting the bike specification to use for the year back in the post-Valencia test in November of last year. “When we chose the bike, we knew it was very difficult, we already realized this in November. The choice of the bike we had was (Marquez’s), I did not have a choice with this bike and I had no say in the matter.”

If given the choice, Pedrosa remarked that he would chosen a “different engine” spec, and points out the difference in the satellite Honda rider finishing positions from the past to present as an example of the problems afflicting the current RC213V.

“In the end we didn’t have many specifications, but the ones that I had, I would have chosen not to have. At the moment Marquez is ahead, and all credit goes to him. He adapts best to the bike and likes it better; I’m suffering more with the bike this year. It’s clear, you can see it in the results and how I ride, but we'll see how it evolves during the year. We'll see what happens with the steps that are taking place. Obviously you have to look at the teams too, not only out of self-interest, because if you look, the other Hondas are much further back than two or three years ago when you had Bradl and Bautista finishing fourth or fifth. But now the other Hondas are 10 positions back, so you also have to look a little at all the other bikes on the other teams that work well.”