Repsol Media Press Release Interview: Dani Pedrosa Talks Testing At Austin

The Repsol Media Service released the following video interview with Dani Pedrosa, complete with English transcription, after the latest MotoGP test at Austin:

"Austin is a difficult circuit, with a 'Formula 1' layout"

Repsol Honda rider analyses first runout at the Circuit of the Americas with his Honda RC213V.

2012 MotoGP World Championship runner-up, Dani Pedrosa, explains his first impressions of the newest circuit on the calendar for 2013. The Repsol Honda rider gives a positive analysis of the three day test at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and says he is looking forward to the final test at Jerez and the season opener in Qatar on April 7th.

After always riding on the same circuits, is it a breath of fresh air to be testing at a completely different track?

"It is a different kind of track. It's got a layout with a very 'Formula 1' style. It is difficult to adapt the bike to some of the strange corners. In any case, we were able to put some laps in and saw that it is a little different to the European tracks that we are used to."

What are the characteristics of the track?

"The asphalt is new and in good condition. The corners are a little strange –especially the hairpins, which are really pronounced. We riders are not so used to these types of corners, with such pointed apexes. The bikes obviously don't corner like cars, so it is difficult to find the best lines. We try to adapt as best we can to the lines required."

Does the Circuit of the Americas most closely resemble Shanghai?

"Not completely. Shanghai had more rounded corners. It just had the one sharp hairpin, but the other corners were all nice and flowing."

What is the most fun part of the circuit?

"In my opinion, the most fun part of Austin is the right hander with various apexes. That's where I enjoyed myself the most, as you can slide well there and you can get on it with some speed."

There are various tracks that are known as "Honda circuits" or "Yamaha circuits" Could we say that this track favours either of the two factories?

"It's difficult to say. We've only had one test and we don't know what will happen in the Grand Prix."

In recent years it has not been so common to have new tracks. The last one was Silverstone in 2010. How do you approach these special cases and prepare to tackle a circuit from scratch?

"The work consists of going out and getting the bike on track. You need to put in the laps to learn from onboard the bike, finding out what the corners are like. In the beginning you don't go fully fast, because you need to see what the grip is like with the tyres and see if you are running a tyre that is too hard or too soft. You also have to calculate the length of the straights in order to adjust your gearing for both those and the corners. Then it's time to start pushing to go faster."

Next week you have the final preseason test and then, a few days later, the first race of the season in Qatar. Are you counting down the days?

"There's not long to go before the start of the season and we have an important test in Jerez. It is a track that we know well and where I like to test. We will have a few days of rest afterwards in order to arrive ready at the opening GP."

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No kidding. Give me an immensely talented rider who's quiet and just shows up to slaughter the field any day over a circus clown. I was thinking the other day that one of the reasons I like Marquez so much is that he has no discernible personality. Not that he doesn't have one, just that he understands that it has nothing to do with the job of winning GP races.

All you can do is hope that the most exciting talent to hit the sport for sometime doesn't inherit a rather unsavoury section of so called fans. At the moment the signs are a little worrying.

I completely disagree with these previous posts...

Racing as entertainment has been the main crux of the argument between the various camps. Those that
have not seen a problem with the 800cc era are more than likely racing purists that are contented by processional and sterile racing because they are witnessing an engineering spectacle. This group probably does not have a need for racing personalities because they can be mutually exclusive. This is certainly a perfectly fair position to have but the number of butts on this team do not allow for full stadiums or adequate paid subscription fees.

Another larger team are those that want to watch the races because they are close and because they are emotionally invested in a given rider, whoever that rider may be and whatever country he is from. Getting emotionally invested fans was at the crux of SofaRacers last post which generated great buzz here.

This second team will put more butts into seats and will pay enough of the bills to keep the racing purists satisfied.

The 990 era had great racing with an ever expanding fan base that soon saw record crowds and enormous television contracts, etc. That exuberance spilled into the 800 cc era and, in my opinion,carried it through. But the sport did not explode because of wheel to wheel racing. Fan of his or not, please tell me that a certain rider's charasmatic personality did not put the Championship onto the map and create a world wide buzz the likes of which the championship had not seen before (ok, maybe to lesser degree with Ago, Hailwood, etc)!!

To get a glimpse of what the sport is going look like until some of the newer personalities have been developed, take a look at attendance of races and viewership while that one rider was out with a broken leg a few years ago?

Racing Personalities are what allowed the fan base to tolerate the 800 era. It was a racing personality that broke the heart of industry with an untimely death. It was a racing personality that has almost single handidly built brands associated with the industry.

The sport needs them.

But you can't answer that question because he is who he is (love or hate him).

People like bad guys that play the Villan too. Doohan, stoner, biagi, etc. my point is that fans want protagonists to root for and against.

You are right, people love narratives, and an endearing personality doesn't hurt, either the sport or your chances of getting a ride.

But think of it this way: How many ticket-selling, stand-packing personalities do you see among the riders who haven't won a single title and have zero chance of winning? Colin's a quote a minute, and I love the guy, but has anyone bought a ticket to a MotoGP race in three years solely because they know Colin will be there? Or tuned it to see if Colin can bag 12th instead of 14th?

Race at the front long enough, and you will become a story line with a public persona. Compare Dani to Cal or Dovi. No one will mistake Pedrosa for an actual live human being. He's just a nice, quiet guy who happens to be very, very good at an incredibly difficult job. All he did was stay healthy and win a bunch of races in a row, and all of a sudden we're reading about how he's grown in stature, is more assured in press conferences, become the leader of the Repsol squad, etc., etc., etc. Mister Non-Personality suddenly had one.

On the other hand, one of the best running storylines last year was Dovi vs. Cal - watching those two go at it was AWESOME! And Cal is a total character. And yet, how many people outside of the British GP bought a ticket to see Crutchlow race? How many fans would have stayed home if Dovi couldn't get a visa and had to skip their local race?

I think what I'm saying is that in racing, having a marketable off-track personality is a function of one thing and one thing only - winning. Everything else, the manufactured personalities, the contrived feuds, just looks like a wig - easy to spot as a fake from a mile away.

I'll leave it at this: If you're one of the two riders who represents the $50 million investment my factory has made in the series, I'm gonna be a lot happier with you if you win than if you make funny YouTube videos.

You go to a race, and Colin is a huge fan favorite. Yes, butts in the seats for a chance to hang out with a CRT lad. Rossi? The stands are overwhelmingly jam-packed with #46 yellow-wearing jerseys for a guy that hasn't won a GP in way too long.

Personality is massively important.


I'll politely disagree, as well. Let me phrase the question differently: If Colin wasn't there, how would that impact the TV audience? We don't even see him on the screen. And, of course, how did Colin get the MotoGP gig in the first place? Two-time WSBK champion. Similarly, Rossi's earned those jerseys in the crowd - nine world titles.

Personality may be important, but without the wins, it's just acting. I think the OP posed the question, which would you prefer, being fast OR having a personality?

The Rossi factor in popularising motoGp is undeniable, and as a motorcyclist I am immensely thankful for the positive public image for motorcyclists that he created. However, I believe that the cult of personality has become misleading, and is at least in part being perpetuated as a somewhat self-serving undertone to the seemingly interminable (even now) Rossi vs Stoner fan wars.

Heresy? I argue, not. MotoGp popularity has ridden on Rossi's back for the last decade, at least. Let us not forget that Rossi has created, like none before him, a massively successful business based on his ability and persona - and anybody who denigrates that has missed the enormity of doing so in a sport that was, and remains, a niche market. A huge amount of respect is deserved for the success that Rossi has had as a rider, as a personality, and as a businessman. In part, that has been a product of the 'Rossi story': Rossi vs. Biaggi, Gibernau, Stoner, Lorenzo (and potentially, Marquez) - not to mention Rossi vs Honda and then Ducati. A not inconsiderable portion of the motorsport media owes its damn existence to hacking that story ad nauseum.

However, the personality factor has limitations. Can this be true? Well, look at F1. It is a mega-earner by comparison with motoGp - and it is most certainly NOT dominated by the personalities (or lack thereof) of its protagonists. It has transcended the personality issue, and indeed it has transcended the importance of riveting racing, which remains as boring as the accretion of guano. Most races are decided by gaps of 10 seconds or more; pitstops and tyre/fuel strategy determine the outcome. As a purely visual spectacle, well-captured slot-car racing would produce similar excitement.

MotoGp is a highly visceral sport to experience. The rider is separated from the audience by no more than a set of leathers, traveling at speeds that boggle the imagination. Certain aspects - for instance, the corkscrew at L.S. - have a balletic, artistic form. Dorna fails monumentally to convey the phenomenal skill (and artistry) of the riders, the risk involved in competition in those conditions, the mechanical perfection that allows competition at this level to occur. Hawking 'personality' instead is a cheap and lazy effort - and the revenue it generates demonstrates that.

Yamaha has accepted the mantra of personality over competition, as all too publicly commented by an impeccable source - Furasawa. Honda demonstrated an almost diametrically opposed focus by offering Stoner a massive sum to continue racing. Which of these companies is correct in its judgement remains open to argument; however there is a conclusion that can be drawn right now.

If the most important aspect of motoGp is personality, then the technical excellence and superiority of these machines and the skills of the riders over anything comparable on the planet is entirely secondary and the racing might as well be conducted on Vespas as merely one part of the global reality competition, alongside the swimsuit segment and the talent competition. The WC will be determined by the viewer votes.

Alternatively, motoGp will represent the pinnacle of rider competence and technical superiority, and Dorna will promote that story. F1 has, in fact, managed to transcend even that paradigm: F1 is now a 'show' in which neither the drivers nor the machines are a major part -it is simply being a part of it that counts.

Yes, in the narrow world in which motoGp currently operates, personalities are important -but personalities will not carry the sport forward. For those who are purists of the sport - what happens on track is more important than the post-race celebration activities. Those who ride understand the dynamics of controlling a motorcycle at the limit and admire those who do that beyond the ken of mere mortals, above and beyond personality. Two tyres in contact with the road, a twist grip controlling what happens - these we understand. Seducing the media or amusing the crowd is a different universe.

I honestly did do the following at both Indy and Laguna:
1. Wait at the gate for an hour before Ben, Dovi, Cal and Jorge came to Q&A for Yamaha, stood like a screaming girl for an hour hoping to catch Cal's autograph to put next to his replica in my man den at both events
2. Stood on the other side of Colin's chain link fence near his motor home until he basically called security at Indy
3. Hung around Ducati Island hoping to meet Nickey.
4. Stalked out the cart path laying in wait for Ben and his mom to pass in the golf cart.
5. Was ignored by all targets but instead got pictures with Wayne Rainey, King Kenny, Nick, then separately with Gavin and Some dude from Storage Wars (haha, ok I actually watch the show).
6. Acknowledged to myself I am a probably a loser and shouldn't have knocked over teen-age girls for shirts/hats fired from a "cannon"!!!
7. Flew home seated next to some young punk whose father is rich and paid a large sum to let his son hang out in the Ducati pit.

Point is, I went to and will go to all (but COTA out of principle this year)American rounds to support all the American riders, none of whom were running at the front but, save for Ben, have a great personality and represent us as American riders very well all the while wishing my balls were bigger and I had the guts and skill to go as fast as they do while on track.

My racing purist itch was scratched at both by watching the metronomic approach of the Top 5 execute like surgeons (except for Stoner at Indy. Ouch) at both.

Talking about "personality" (character etc.) has the same level as talking about genetic preposition. Both are illusions and have no real (scientific) base. Building the so called character/personality is just like composing music. It has no limits and is without any restriction or fundament.

You are talking about a non-existing topic/matter as personalities are simply nothing but a state of developement of ones mind/consciousness. As we are living in a totaly manipulated and unconscious society with no tendency to become spiritualy free (what results in having NO personality, because beeing completely NEUTRAL/harmonized and mentally developed => "ZEN" etc.) your theories seem to have a solid base. Sorry, as in quantum-physics, universal theories (unified field theory etc.), or most of common genetic assumptions, there are big, big (BLACK) holes. So called sciences which have exactly the same fundament as common (falling apart) religions (=> Buddhism/ZEN is not a religion).

Speaking of Rossi: What you are referring to is not a fixed personality or character, it is simply a process of radiation (<=> contraction). Rossis external behaviour (beeing a media clown in his early years etc.) is nothing fundamental, it´s just a "fluid" behaviour, like beeing an actor who is playing his role.

Those of you who do not understand the process of becoming spiritually reflexive/reflected and therefore as conscious as possible, are assuming that charcters/personalities are real. Nope ... It´s just a mental game, in which most players have no idea what they are doing (= beeing completely driven by external impulses, sex/endocrinology, illusions of "real"/existing money/values etc.).

Embryonic state of consciousness will not solve the real "problems" of this society (including all facettes of the fractal structure). Talking abolut personalities is just one of those beautiful (childish) behaviours ...

It´s time to wake up ...

I believe you are 100% right. With two-stroke engines. Four-stroke? Another realm.

There is much to enjoy of the rider's inner and outer presence in our sport. I love the essence of a whole person emerging forth with the riding. They are mastering what it is to be fully alive, bridging heaven and earth, artists of the possible. Media personae is a thin slice of something much bigger. I don't get very stuck on it but enjoy it for its part. The imagination, joy, exuberance, restraint, it is all there in the way they ride. The whole person is on display. 'Likeability' seems much less significant than 'compelling' and such. Simoncelli was a passionate warrior, uninhibited. Remember the temperament and 'bumping against the envelope of the possible' of Lorenzo's rookie season? He burned so hot, almost too close to the sun. Pedro is an opposite to this in a way. Still has his father figure in his pit with him. Quietly building. Marquez is a VERY special rider and I think we see this now. Like Rossi in some ways. And a bit like Simoncelli in banging bars. And not much at all the person the Dani or Jorge are.
Now we get to be with the unfoldment of the lines he carves, style he emerges developing. The old heart rate monitor comparison of Biaggi and Rossi comes to mind as an example of how the person/personae/spirit of the rider is evidenced. And look at how Biaggi would ride and race, what his sensitivity to the limit was like. Spending a some time with the riders connecting personally with pit passes at a GP is huge fun to add to what can be experienced of their racing. 2013 aho!

I think some of us are now expanding our MotoGP daydreams to include not only being riders but Dorna board members & PR men. I doubt the real protagonists give as much consideration to our business' as we do their's.

MotoGP existed & prospered for over 40 years before the coming of Jes..err Rossi, & will likely survive (environmentalists permitting) another 40+ years after he's gone. He is not the first "character" to race & become a mass-media "star" & won't be the last. Yes, he brought thousands, perhaps millions of new fans to the sport & many will no doubt leave with him. Again, not without precedent. Many here are overlooking the distinction between Rossi the racer, & Rossi the personality for public consumption. There never would have been the later, without the former.

The point is WE the hardcore MotoGPisti sustain the sport come hell or highwater, not the transient star-struck groupies who come to get an autograph. Great, I hope they develop a passion for the SPORT, but don't delude yourselves into believing they'll be around for long.

Have you seen Supercross? Each week 40-60,000+ people come to see a sport with no Rossi-sized star but GREAT bar-to-bar RACING. I doubt most of the fans even ride a motorcycle. The show is ultimately the hook, NOT the stars..IF MotoGP races were as competitive, we wouldn't even think we needed stars.

Oscar, as a childhood slot car racer, I take umbridge with your F1 comparison.

A couple of comments: Firstly, can we please prevent this from degenerating into a surreptitious Rossi vs Stoner argument? That's what a lot of the discussion over media-friendly vs media-averse riders appears to be about.

Secondly, the world is neither black and white, nor does it consist of a single approach to doing things. The fans of a particular rider may be fickle, but they may find either a genuine interest in the sport, or another target for their affections. The purists may love the sport passionately, but they can also alienate outsiders with their obsessiveness. The truth is that people enjoy sports - such as motorcycle racing, but it is just as true for tennis, cycling, football, soccer, rugby, speed skating and anything else you care to mention - for many different reasons. All fans should be equally welcome.

The really ironic thing is that, in all the years I've spent talking to racers, professionally and socially, I've had exactly one boring interview. What racers do, how they think, the life choices they make, are utterly fascinating, and that's from MotoGP champions to novice club racers.

It's just that racing's not a personality contest.

Somebody start a two-stroke vs. four-stroke thread. I've got some thoughts on why the 990 period worked relatively well ... ;)