Dani Pedrosa, former Repsol Honda MotoGP rider, will get back on track as a test rider for RedBull KTM. He will make an early RC16 debut at Jerez on 18-19 Dec. And KTM is very pleased to have him onboard. In a recent interview, Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director, said, “ I think there is still a lot of fire in him (Pedrosa).”
When the news regarding Lorenzo being hired by Honda as Pedrosa’s replacement broke out, it was a bit of a hard time for the latter to decide whether to continue racing or take a retirement. It was at this time when RedBull KTM approached him and offered to join the team as a test rider. Pedrosa had other options as well; he could have continued his career by moving to Sepang Yamaha or remained at Honda as a test rider.
However, the Spaniard finally decided to move to RedBull KTM after spending 18 years with Honda racing in 125cc, 250cc, and MotoGP classes. He had a fantastic career and it was not easy to say goodbye.
Speaking about Pedrosa getting onboard, Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director, said, “We are definitely really, really proud that a rider like Dani is coming on our side and bringing his experience into our project. In the beginning, he wanted to stop [racing], then maybe not to stop and there was another project for him coming up [the satellite Yamaha]. We didn’t put any extra pressure on him to decide, but he knew from the beginning we really, really wanted him because he can give a huge value to our project in terms of development for the future.”
He further continued, “I think that’s always great for a rider – if he stops his career, that he gets the feeling he’s really needed somewhere and not just a marketing idol or something,” added Beirer, himself a former motocross grand prix title contender. So I think there is still a lot of fire in him and he wanted to get a job where he needs to work. That’s definitely something we can supply him with!”
Pedrosa will bring with him almost two decades of experience that will benefit KTM’s current riders a lot. And they can now focus on pure racing. KTM won its first ever MotoGP podium in the last round of the 2018 MotoGP season in Valencia. The conditions were extremely wet and many riders crashed and couldn’t even finish. Espargaro on his RC16 managed to hold on and finished third.