HRC boss: No thought to replace Dani Pedrosa
Honda never entertained replacing Dani Pedrosa after the Spaniard recently clinched a new contract to continue as an official HRC rider until the end of 2016.
Despite having never won the MotoGP title in eight previous attempts, Honda’s loyalty towards Pedrosa appears to have no limits, with the Spaniard given a new two-year deal that will take him to an 11th season as a Repsol Honda rider.
Honda has always maintained its main priority was to keep reigning world champion Marc Marquez and Pedrosa together, though HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto did admit during the pre-season campaign that he intended to launch a raid for Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo.
Honda failed to lure Lorenzo away from Yamaha after lengthy negotiations in 2012, but Nakamoto never carried out his pre-season pledge to speak to the double MotoGP world champion.
Explaining why he had been so keen to offer Pedrosa a new deal, Nakamoto told MCN: “We only spoke with Dani and I am really happy to keep Dani. Marc and Dani are top riders and that’s the only reason we want to keep both. For me it doesn’t matter about nationality or personality, as long as they fast I don’t care. And the relationship with Marc and Dani is very good.”
Many thought Honda would insist on Pedrosa signing a one-year deal, so it could bring in a younger talent for 2016 to mould for the future next to mercurial Marquez.
But Nakamoto said: “We talked about one year, one plus an option and also two. Dani preferred a two-year contract.”
Asked why he had made zero contact with Lorenzo, he joked: “Too slow (laughs). We are happy with Dani and it is as simple as that.”