As expected, Dani Pedrosa has signed on for another two years with HRC, and will remain in the factory Repsol Honda team until the end of 2016. Reports from Spain suggested that a deal was close to completion at Assen, and the details have now been finalized. The deal means that the Repsol Honda team will remain unchanged for a further two years, with Pedrosa lining up alongside 2013 world champion Marc Marquez until the end of the 2016 season.
The deal between Pedrosa and Honda had taken a little while to complete, with Pedrosa briefly flirting with Suzuki, who are set to make a return to MotoGP in 2015. That flirtation was never completely serious, and given the salary Pedrosa was rumored to be demanding to ride for Suzuki - said to be 8 million euros - Pedrosa was not keen to leave Honda. Staying at Honda does come at a price, however. Rumors in the Spanish media suggest that Pedrosa was forced to take a cut in base salary, with compensation coming in the form of performance-based bonuses. The veracity of such claims is hard to test, as HRC did not disclose any of the details of the contract with Pedrosa. Keeping salaries secret is common practice in MotoGP, teams and factories fearing it could unleash a bidding war.
Pedrosa's signing means that both factory Honda and one factory Yamaha seat are now fixed for the next two season. Pedrosa and Marquez will continue at Repsol Honda, while Valentino Rossi will stay at Movistar Yamaha. That leaves Jorge Lorenzo with fewer options than before, making a contract extension with Yamaha look more likely. Lorenzo's only other option would be the factory Ducati team, but that is a big gamble at the moment.
If Lorenzo stays at Yamaha, then that would lock up the four top bikes until 2017, making it hard for some young riders to progress. Riders such as Scott Redding and Stefan Bradl are left on satellite rides, and if Maverick Vinales enters MotoGP in 2016, he too will have to wait a year for a factory ride. That opens up a fierce battle for the top bikes in 2017, when the top riders from Moto3 - Alex Rins, Alex Marquez, Jack Miller, Romano Fenati - all head for the premier class.
With Pedrosa, Marquez and Rossi signed, and Lorenzo looking likely to remain, that leaves the factory Ducati riders next in line for renewal. Cal Crutchlow has to make a decision by the end of the month whether he will stay with Ducati, or try his luck at Suzuki. Andrea Dovizioso has a similar decision to make, though he appears to be more inclined to remain with Ducati than to take a risk. Suzuki are dependent in part on what happens at Ducati. If one of the two factory riders at Ducati don't jump ship to Suzuki, then Pramac rider Andrea Iannone will be high on their priority list, as will Forward Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro. Talks will continue at the Sachsenring, with more news likely to emerge either after Germany, or before the season resumes at Indianapolis in early August.
The press release from Honda appears below.
Honda Racing Corporation sign with Pedrosa until 2016
Honda Racing Corporation is pleased to officially announce an agreement has been reached with Dani Pedrosa that will see the Spanish rider remain in the factory Honda team for a further two years, until the end of 2016.
Dani, who currently lies third in the World Championship – level on points with second place Rossi – as the season reaches the halfway point, will extend his contract with Honda with whom he has raced with his debut in the World Championship in 2001. Dani is a three time World Champion (2003 in 125cc, 2004 and 2005 in 250cc) and made his debut in MotoGP in 2006 in the Repsol Honda Team, claiming the Rookie of the Year title and fifth position in the Championship. He has been both runner up and third in the premier class on six occasions (three each).
Dani Pedrosa World Championship Statistics:
Podiums: 90 (25 x 1st, 35 x 2nd 30 x 3rd)
Fastest Race Laps: 40
Best World Championship positions: 2nd (2012, 2010, 2007), 3rd (2013, 2009, 2008)
Podiums: 24 (15 x 1st, 8 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd)
Fastest Race Laps: 15
World Champion: 2005, 2004
Podiums: 17 (8 x 1st, 4 x 2nd, 5 x 3rd)
Fastest Race Laps: 5
World Champion: 2003
HRC Executive Vice President
“We are very pleased to renew our contract with Dani. He is enjoying a very strong season and is currently tied with Rossi in the Championship, we are very happy with his performance. The partnership of Dani and Marc has proven to be successful and we look forward to another two years of success”
"I'm very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team, and grateful to Honda for the trust they have shown in me for for a further two years. It’s the best way for me to continue in my racing career, together with the company I was with in my very first race. I am very excited to give my 100% and continue to work together with everyone at Honda Racing Corporation”