An Interview With Dani Pedrosa
Second in the World Championship and 16 points off the lead, Dani Pedrosa salvaged a difficult situation at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on July 21 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to add 11 valuable points to his tally. A crash during practice for the German Grand Prix disrupted the consistency of the Repsol Honda Team rider, who had led the championship for much of the season.
Pedrosa races next at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 16-18 at IMS. He is the defending champion of the race, also winning in 2010 at IMS.
How is your body after Laguna Seca?
"Honestly, I'm very happy. Whenever you make a big effort and take risks like I did at the United States Grand Prix, getting good results and points is very rewarding."
You're 16 points off the lead. What evaluation do you make of the previous races?
"Overall I think the level has been good. We’ve ridden well, although we have not ridden every race to perfection and we have lost many points in the last three GPs. Perhaps our weak point has been consistency, but we are still fighting for the title. Heading into the second half of the season, we need to improve on this in the fight for the title."
In what ways do you think you and the bike have to improve in the second half of the year?
"In every race, we've had some differences to the competition. There have been several factors influencing the behavior of the bike, such as the heat, cold, etc., and it has been very difficult to compensate for that. In a few races have we seen complete equality; there has always been an advantage for Honda or Yamaha. That's why it has been very difficult as a rider to make a difference in that regard. However, we have managed second position. We can say that we have had good races, and we have focused on not making mistakes when we were not in a position to fight for the win."
How did the crash in Germany affect your season?
"We lost the ability to score points. We didn’t get any at Sachsenring, and we lost some points at Laguna Seca due to injury. Hopefully everything is behind us now and in the second half of the season we can make a good run to the end of the championship."
With riders like Marquez and Lorenzo, are errors recoverable?
"Luckily for me, they have also made mistakes. Maybe Marquez is the one who has made the least, and that is why he is the leader. You can see the trend of this World Championship, that he who makes fewest mistakes gets the most points. But in case you make a mistake, you can always recover if the other rider does, too. In fact, last year we did so, although it is much more difficult."
What has surprised you most about Marc’s adaptation?
"I am mostly surprised with how quickly he learns things; he does not take long to learn."
How do you approach the second half of the year?
"With enthusiasm and strength. With determination to have a good second half of the season and get good points at every race."
Which GP are you most looking forward to racing?
"No one particular race. I try to go race-by-race. So right now I am just thinking about Indianapolis, which is the first race after the break."
To win, do you have to suffer or have fun?
“Both! Mainly you have to have fun, you have to like what you do. But during the race there are times when you suffer.”
Will we see the Dani of the second half of 2012?
"I hope so. Now I have a few days to recover and recharge, which is the most important thing. We hope to be in top physical condition for the second half of the season, which starts with three races in a row. It is important to be physically fit, in order to be able to take things full-on over those three weeks."
Dani Pedrosa will be World Champion in 2013 if ...
"If I manage to ride every race well and not make mistakes. The important thing is to maintain a high level and keep it up until the end of the year. That can give you the championship."
Your plans for this summer? Physiotherapy and some time off?
"Yes, above all I will take the opportunity to do recovery work and see how the injury heals. We have a recovery plan that will be adapted as things improve. We will play it by ear. At the same time, I will try to disconnect, as this second half of the season will be very intense -so I will have a little fun now."
Of the different countries you visit, where do you think the fans are most passionate
"In America, motorcycling has many fans. They treat all the riders equally, which is great. But the passion that exists in Europe for motorcycles is unparalleled."
Where is better to watch the races: At the circuit or on television?
"From the circuit! It’s the only way to understand the magnitude of the speed and intensity that exists in this sport. Watching the races on TV you can always look and say, "But why did isn’t he passing?” At the circuit you see and appreciate why things happen, how fast the bikes go, how hard it is physically and the short distances between riders. In person you really understand the reality of the sport."
Do you identify with any sportsman?
"Every sportsman is different, but it is true that there are similarities. Although I do not identify with anyone in particular, I have great respect for (FC Barcelona soccer player) Andres Iniesta. He has sporting values that I like: Discipline, sincerity, manners and respect. He’s a person who has character and always plays by the rules of the game. These values are the ones I like to see in an athlete."
What do you like to do to unwind?
"I suppose, like everyone, I like to have fun and good times with friends and family. Riding a bike or driving a kart, windsurfing or things like that are great, but it’s a question of disconnecting. These days are for resting, eating well and having a good time -nothing special, just living in the moment."