Looking Back At 2013 - Rating The Riders: 3rd, Dani Pedrosa, 9/10

In part three of our series looking back at 2013, we review the performance of Dani Pedrosa last season. If you missed the first two instalments, you can read part 1, Marc Marquez, and part 2, Jorge Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda
Championship position: 3rd
Score: 9/10

At the end of the 2013 season, some sections of the media took great delight in writing off Dani Pedrosa, after he failed yet again to secure a MotoGP title at his eighth time of trying. Surely Pedrosa's days at the Repsol Honda team were numbered, as he consistently fails to deliver on the promise he showed in the 125 and 250 classes?

It is easy to dismiss Pedrosa as MotoGP's 'nearly man', and consign him to the dustbin of history, but to do so is to ignore Pedrosa's actual results. Dani Pedrosa won three races in 2013, was on the podium a further ten times, moved ahead of Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts in the all-time MotoGP rankings, and now has the same number of second- and third-place finishes as Valentino Rossi. After Assen, Pedrosa was leading the championship by 9 points.

What stopped Pedrosa was the one factor which has dogged his career throughout: ill fortune. The crash at the Sachsenring can be put down to Pedrosa's own mistake, the Spaniard getting caught out by conditions after a brief rain shower. But his chances of the championship were lost to sheer bad luck, with Marc Marquez touching the rear of his Honda at Aragon, severing a cable which has gone unprotected for several years, and disabling the traction control. How Marquez managed to thread his clutch lever into a gap a few millimeters high and a few centimeters long at over 200 km/h is a mystery, but he managed it. When Pedrosa opened the throttle, he was thrown from the bike, suffering bad bruising in the incident. It was a stroke of incredibly bad luck.

Up until that point, Pedrosa had looked like he had that weekend under control. Though he was sitting in second place behind Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha man was already showing signs he would not be able to hold Pedrosa off much longer. Afterward, Pedrosa told reporters he felt he could have won the race. The Marquez incident means we will not know whether he was right.

While Pedrosa was plagued by bad luck, he also did not have the season he did in 2012. That year, Pedrosa came close to beating Jorge Lorenzo in a straight fight, the two men swapping wins, and Pedrosa coming out on top with seven to Lorenzo's six. In 2013, Pedrosa had more problems winning, in part due to increased competition - unlike 2012, his two main competitors were not injured often. But Pedrosa also struggled with bike set up, finding it harder to handle greasy conditions than his teammate. At Qatar and Assen, when his team could not get the bike to generate the grip Pedrosa needed, he struggled, finishing off the podium. His teammate handled those conditions better, always finishing on the podium, when he finished. This is something Pedrosa and his crew chief Mike Leitner will need to do better in 2014.

High point:

There were several high points during Dani Pedrosa's season. The ease with which the Spaniard won at Jerez was the first, following it up with another two weeks' later at Le Mans. But Pedrosa's strongest weekend came in Malaysia. After the disaster at Aragon, where he was taken out through no fault of his own, Pedrosa hit back with a vengeance, dominating practice, then walking away with a comfortable victory, and proving his point along the way. If there were ever any doubts about Pedrosa's mental resilience, he laid them to rest at Sepang.

Low point:

After a year without injury, crashing at the Sachsenring and breaking a collarbone was a serious blow for Dani Pedrosa. Still troubled by memories of the thoracic outlet syndrome he suffered after his crash at Motegi in 2010, Pedrosa held off a long time on surgery. But even that was not as bad as the incident at Aragon, where teammate Marquez clipped his rear wheel, taking out a traction control sensor in the process. Pedrosa was livid afterwards, branding Marquez' riding as dangerous and out of control. His fury lasted all the way to Malaysia, where he was seen haranguing Marquez as they waited to enter the office of Race Director Mike Webb to discuss the incident. One year, Fate will smile on Dani Pedrosa. 2013 was not that year.

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Since his debut in the Top Class, Pedrosa has been on the best team, best brand, best sponsor, and at most times on the best bike... and he has yet to win the title. Dani has his moments when he can ride better than the entire grid at any circuit. Dani's most apparent weakness is that he needs the bike to be 'perfect' in order to win. That's when Dani's confidence is at its highest. Unlike Casey and Marquez, Dani can not ride beyond the RCV's capabilities or shortcomings! But now that Puig is no longer in his box and Dani can see from 2013 how MotoGP racing will be in 2014 (rubbing is racing)... Dani may finally step-up, be more aggressive, and win the 2014 title.

Dani wil not win the title. if dani had to step-up he would have done it in 2013 after mm hit his cable(dani was not amuzed), but nothing came, no extra fighting spirit nothing. remember he was 0.6 sec a lap faster than mm and when he arrived at mm he kept riding behind him and not a single attack! So no.... dani wil not win the title ever.

but anyone who writes off Pedrosa is being very harsh. He is one of the world's top riders and, if he comes back with a similar 'determination' and attitude as JL, 2014 could be one of the best years ever. And he could be champ.

Ok fellas... I am no DP26 fan either but anything is possible for Dani in 2014 if he remains healthy. Contracts are up this season for Dani and Jorge. Dani must be aware of HRC's intentions of getting Jorge if/when he decides to leave Yamaha. But I don't see Yamaha letting JL99 go anywhere til they have somebody worthy enough to replace him. Marquez and Lorenzo may battle for the title again in 2014 just as hard or even harder than in 2013 but Dani will have until Valencia in November/2014 to win the title regardless of what happens. If his contract is not renewed or if he decides to retire... Dani must be 2014 MotoGP Champion! Its do or die time for Dani and he knows it. He needs 18 rounds in 2014 like Sepang in 2013.

I am a kind of Pedrosa fan. but to be ohnest, I am fan of allmost every racer on gp grid. As who I would like to win the title, well, Dani is up there with SBK legend Haga.

But! Aragon incident is one DNF. nothing else. IF he would win the race with 93 in second and 99 in third, he would still finish third in championship. Sad to say, Aragon incident changed nothing. Marquez overshadowed Dani more than Casey ever could. And if Jorge could up the game, Valentino and Dani could not. I would rate them 93&99 9/10, 26 8,5/10 and 46 8/10

It's nonsensical to rate the top 3 the same when clearly they weren't. Marc and Jorge won way more races than Dani, that's why they beat him in the end. The part about Marquez overshadowing Dani more than Casey ever could is a bit silly though, check the 2011 points. Dani won more races in 2012 because Stoner hurt his ankle badly halfway though the season, yet people were all too ready to mark him down as the title favourite for 2013. And guess what, when Dani needed to win races to beat Jorge and and Marc last year he couldn't do it - it was Jorge who raised his game and took it to Marquez at the majority of races which also proved he had plenty in reserve later in 2012 when he was happy to coast to second placings to win the title.

Pedrosa is actually peaking in performance not declining.

I went back and tallied his versus the world champions points hauls since 06 and averaged them. What is shows is the WC Avg is 19.4 points per race, and DP Avg is 14.5 points per race over same period, but he notably brought in 18.4 and 16.7 points per race in last two years. Not enough, but noticably more than the less than 14 points per race he'd been at in years prior to CS arrival at Honda. I didn't give any credit for Dns which would make his figures better but introduce error of judgment, just simply points scored vs races run that year.

What it also shows is that a season of straight second places would be WC by a wisker, and that on avg DP is 5 points per race behind the WC, the points between a win and second.

Dani needs to win more races, when it matters. He need to take some chances and try to stamp his authority on a championship which is something he's never been able to do even when not injured.

In 8 years as the number 1 factory Honda rider Pedrosa has 25 wins to his name. Casey Stoner has 36 wins in GP with a season less, despite riding a satellite bike for a year and a Ducati for 4 years. And it's not like Stoner didn't have his fair share of adversity along the way, but when he had opportunities his speed meant he was able to capitalise.

DP avgerages 3 non points scoring races per season, with a high of as many as 5 races and a best of 2.

The WC average is 1 non points scoring race per year over this period.

And several, 3 years, where the WC scored in every race. CS 07 was one of those, VR08 and JL10, the other two. Only the last two seasons saw the WC not score in two races, a feat DP has only matched in his better years.

So giving up two rounds to the WC is a deep hole. Still managing 300 points while doing so the past two years means he can win when needs to.

But if he hadn't had those misfortunes would his points scoring potential be enough?

Chances are he's a strong podium threat at any race he finishes next year. But third wont be enough when you need a perfect season of second places to be WC (on avg during his tenure).

So yes its apparent he needs more wins, but also no more than one DNF.

With his last two years matching his best of two non scoring rounds in a season, it seems within reach to manage just one, especially considering how two of those occurred.

Bautista is very talented. I think that he is faster than the equipment that he is riding most of the time(over the limit). I rate him at least equal to Crutchlow if not better. He may be able to run with Rossi and beat him if he had Crutchlow's bike.

Alas, some riders benefit from their passport while others suffer. Bautista suffers. Too many Spanish riders.

Let's hope that he and DePuniet get the Suzuki ride.