Dani Pedrosa responds to Kevin Schwantz criticism

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Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa has spoken of his disappointment at recent comments attributed to American legend Kevin Schwantz that were critical of the Spaniard and his long-serving manager and mentor Alberto Puig.

French and Spanish media outlets quoted Schwantz casting doubt over Pedrosa’s ability to win the MotoGP world title in 2013.

This year is Pedrosa’s eighth in Honda’s official factory squad and while he has finished inside the top three in the world championship six times, won 22 races and claimed 50 podiums, the MotoGP world title has eluded him.

Quotes also attributed to Schwantz during last weekend’s inaugural Circuit of the Americas race in Texas, were critical of Pedrosa's relationship with Puig.

They read: “Dani lacks nothing, but he has too much, like Alberto Puig. Dani needs to reach another level himself. I like Dani but he's been with Honda eight years and he's won nothing. I would like him to prove me wrong, but I don't think he will."

In response, Pedrosa told MCN that he feels the comments against Puig, who has been a major influence in his 13-year world championship career, were very unjust.

Puig also helped talent like former Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner get his big break in the MotoGP paddock and Pedrosa said: “These comments seem very unfair to me.

"To say that Alberto Puig is my father is a tedious subject and whoever says this clearly doesn't know the reality.

"His job is to find new talent and he has shown that he knows what he is doing and he does so in an honest way. Many of the riders he has helped have already been champions or runners-up".

Pedrosa was also disappointed with comments attributed to Schwantz about Valentino Rossi’s standing in MotoGP. The popular Texan said was quoted as saying that ‘without Valentino, the championship is worthless.’

Pedrosa, who won three world titles in the 125 and 250cc category, said: "We know that Valentino is great for our sport, but if he had raced alone all this time would he still have the same value? There has been good racing and extraordinary moments in the past two years when he was struggling"

Pedrosa also conveyed his disappointment at Schwantz’s criticism at his record in MotoGP, adding that he will always have the utmost respect for the 1993 world champion’s achievements and that he admired the speed and bravery the American displayed in his career.

The 27-year-old added: "I am disappointed with these comments. He considers me to be a nice guy but I've never really said more than 'hello' to Kevin.

"For me, he has been one of the greatest riders since I started watching motorcycle racing. He knows this sport inside and out and has also won and lost, and I believe this time he is out of line.

"I also advise him to review my career statistics and then maybe we can chat together. I may not have won a MotoGP world championship yet, but I have taken many other records in this sport that others have not achieved.

"Also, I am very close to winning the same number of races as him, and that’s with Valentino and 'company' (as he refers to them) on track against me.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt