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Pedrosa to celebrate 150th GP at Le Mans

Pedrosa to celebrate 150th GP at Le Mans

The Repsol Honda rider, who made his debut at the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix, will make his 150th MotoGP World Championship start this Sunday at Le Mans.

On April 8th 2001, a talented young boy called Dani Pedrosa took to the grid for the first time in his life for a Motorcycle World Championship test session. It was at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, and at just 15 years of age, this shy young man faced the best riders in the world in the 125cc class for the first time. Nine years later, this coming Sunday, the Repsol Honda rider will celebrate – at the controls of his Honda RC212V wearing the Repsol colours – 150 Motorcycle World Championship races, in which, by his own merits, he has become one of the main favourites amongst the elite in the world of two wheels: the MotoGP World Championship.

Ten years have passed since that debut at the controls of a Honda RS125, and five since joining the official team of the golden wing brand in the premier class, the Repsol Honda team. Selected by Alberto Puig at a national promotional cup, both began a journey together which has taken Pedrosa to the highest echelons of motorcycling – MotoGP – always riding bikes from the Saitama factory and winning a well-deserved place amongst the best Spanish riders of all time.

Pedrosa has won three World Championship titles, with 31 victories and 80 podiums along the way, and has finished on the podium more than half the times he has competed, establishing a track record which has also seen him as runner-up in the premier class and finishing a further two Championships in the top three of the MotoGP standings.

Since his arrival in the World Championships, Pedrosa has impressed with his talent in the lower classes, becoming one of the leaders of a fresh-faced generation, a group of riders who at just 15 arrived in the Motorcycle World Championships coming from different promotional cups and national championships, displaying an innate talent for riding motorbikes.

He did not take long to beat records, making himself the youngest rider in history to compete in a World Championship and also the youngest Spanish rider to take a podium and be declared World Champion of the 125cc class. In 2004, after experiencing the hell of injuries with a fracture in both ankles, he recovered to secure victory in his first race in 250cc, becoming the youngest rider to rise to the highest echelons of the quarter-litre class. He also became the youngest Champion in the history of 250cc, the youngest to win two Championships consecutively in two different categories and the youngest to win three World Championships in a row.

Pedrosa started 2006 in the premier class, where he took the second step on the podium in only his second race, and in his fourth, achieved his first victory. Consequently, he became the second youngest rider in history to win in the premier class, behind Freddie Spencer and tied with Norifumi Abe. In his first year he fought to the end for a title which was finally won by his then Repsol Honda team-mate, Nicky Hayden, and in the three seasons following, he was always one of the front runners.

This season, having only turned 24 last September, he is, after Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri and Randy de Puniet, one of the MotoGP riders with most World Championship races under his belt: none less than 150 when the French Grand Prix starts next Sunday. A long journey in which he has missed several meetings due to injury – the last two of 2003 after being crowned Champion of 125cc, and Laguna Seca in 2008 – has not prevented the Repsol Honda rider from shining season after season with his boundless talent, nor lose the enthusiasm for making his dream of becoming MotoGP World Champion a reality.

Statistics:

World Championships: 3 (125cc in 2003; 250cc in 2004 and 2005)
Races: 149 (46 in 125cc, 32 in 250cc, and 71 in MotoGP)
Victories: 31 (8 in 125cc, 15 in 250cc, 8 in MotoGP)
Podiums: 80 (17 in 125cc, 24 in 250cc, 39 in MotoGP)
Pole positions: 32 (9 in 125cc, 9 in 250cc, 14 in MotoGP)
First Grand Prix: 2001Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
First Pole Position: 2002 Japanese Grand Prix
First podium: 2001 Valencian Grand Prix
First victory: 2002 Dutch Grand Prix

Tags:
MotoGP, 2010, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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