Having snacked on a slice of Danilo Petrucci pie last week, the MotoGP™ Podcast team have another fantastic serving to offer this week in the form of three-time World Champion Dani Pedrosa.
Undisputedly sitting as one of the best riders to have graced the Grand Prix paddock, Pedrosa won 54 races across 125, 250 and MotoGP™. And on Last On The Brakes, the ‘Little Samurai’ reveals what it’s like for a rider to be in ‘the zone’, citing two races in particular that he remembers.
“That race that you described was in Assen 2004 with the 250, and it’s true I started with a problem in the bike and started dead last,” began Pedrosa. “We were 30 something riders, so at the beginning I was passing people four and four riders each corner. Like I said then, there were riders everywhere but it’s like you can see your tunnel opening through every rider. Another time was in Barcelona 2008 in MotoGP but this time it was different because I was on the front row, so I got a good start and I was first, leading the race.
“Although there were no riders in front of me and I was leading, every corner for the first seven or eight laps, it was like slow motion. I don’t know how to… how… why this was like that. But everything happened so slow that I was feeling I was going so slow but it turns out I was breaking the record every lap. I was gapping Casey and Valentino by a second per lap. But, I was feeling that I was super slow. My brain, I don’t know, but my view was “I’m not going fast enough, I’m not going fast enough”. For the first seven laps, I pulled out a gap of seven seconds and then when I realised, “OK, I have seven seconds”, then suddenly I was back on the, let’s say, ‘normal’ behaviour or every race and then just managed the gap. But for the first seven laps I was doing the record but I was feeling “oh, there is more!”.
Pedrosa then discusses what it’s like coming out of ‘the zone’: “Actually, the problem is that I had these two experiences. And I felt like “wow, this is crazy”. Because when I’m in that zone, I’m always winning. But, I couldn’t really choose when this was happening, it just happened. Like you said, when something else happens at the time, when you’re in the zone, maybe you get a pit board that says ‘+7 seconds’ and maybe you realise “plus seven? Seven is already a lot, it’s more than enough to Casey and Valentino” then *click*, you’re off. And you can’t go back.”
In addition to this, Pedrosa chats about his ‘new normal’ life post-racing, windsurfing and being passionate about something you’re not great at – although he’s probably better than he makes out. Privacy, why he’s opened up since retirement and his thoughts on social media, and maintaining a healthy mindset during injury and adversity. Oh, and Pedrosa takes part in a 'word association' game at the end - basically, Episode 10 of 2020 is a must-listen!
Go check out the MotoGP™ Podcast via the links at the top of the article, as well as being able to watch the chat with Pedrosa – and more – on YouTube!