Sunday’s MotoGP race in Le Mans was a special occasion for Dani Pedrosa, etching the Repsol Honda rider’s name in the motorcycle racing history books as he became the youngest rider to compete in 150 Grand Prix races.
But although the French Grand Prix was a significant moto juncture for the Spaniard, he missed a podium finish by two places on the final lap. For 27 of 28 laps, Pedrosa kept his RC212V in third place behind the Fiat Yamaha pair, race-winner Jorge Lorenzo and second-place finisher Valentino Rossi.
But on the final lap his teammate Andrea Dovizioso finally caught up, and took third…this same scenario occurred at the 2009 Le Mans race, but it was Pedrosa who took third from Dovizioso.
But things got worse seconds later; after being taking by the Italian, a strong-running Ducati Marlboro rider Nicky Hayden capitalized on Pedrosa’s mistake of running wide, the Kentucky Kid finishing in fourth, ultimately giving Pedrosa fifth.
Dani Pedrosa says: "Well of course I’m not satisfied to have finished in this way because we were able to stay near the leaders for the first part of the race and then dropped back. Losing two places on the final lap is not a good feeling. My start was ok and I could stay near the front in the first laps but later in the race I was making a lot of mistakes trying to maintain my pace. I had a bit of a rear brake issue which meant I couldn’t get the bike into the turns as I wanted and I was fighting the bike a bit."
His team manager, Toshiyuki Yamaji, adds "The race started well and (Dani) was able to keep up a good pace, but he was struggling to get the machine turned and he couldn’t battle with the leaders at the end as we’d hoped he might. Now we go into a very busy part of the season and we will continue to push very hard so that we can challenge our rivals again at Mugello."
Although fifth wasn’t what Pedrosa was hoping for at the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans, he entered the MotoGP record books, taking the place of Marco Melandra, who raced his 150th in 2007 at 25 years old. Pedrosa grabbed his 150th on Sunday at 24 years old.
And he raced all 150 on various models from one manufacturer, Honda: 46 races in the 125cc Class, 32 in the 250cc Class and 72 in MotoGP. Pedrosa has two 250 World Championships, and one in the 125 class.
After three of 18 rounds, Pedrosa has 40 points in the championship, ranking him in fourth place.
MotoGP heads to Mugello, Italy, in two weeks…during last year’s rain-soaked Mugello meet, Pedrosa crashed out midway through the race.
Dani Pedrosa | GP Start Stats
MotoGP World Standing | Le Mans