Dani Pedrosa to retire at the end of 2018 MotoGP season
Dani Pedrosa has announced that he will retire from competition at the end of the current MotoGP campaign, bringing down the curtain on an illustrious career.
Pedrosa's future was thrown into uncertainty when Honda confirmed it was to part ways with the Spaniard after 18 years together last month, with Jorge Lorenzo to take his place.
It was thought Pedrosa would move to a Petronas-backed satellite Yamaha team, with the Sepang International Circuit confirming last week it had agreed a deal to take over the grid slots of the Aspar team.
However, in a press conference on Thursday afternoon at the Sachsenring, ahead of this year's German Grand Prix, Pedrosa announced his intentions to retire from racing at the conclusion of the current MotoGP season.
He said: “Firstly next year I would like to announce I will not compete in the championship, this means I will finish the career this season in MotoGP.
“This is a decision that I've been thinking [about] for a long time, and it's a very hard decision because this is the sport I love. But despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don't live racing with such intensity as before and I now have different priorities in my life.
“So I would like to express how fortunate I feel to have had this experience, to have this opportunity in my life.
“It's been an amazing life, to be out racing for such an important team and in front of all the fans.
“So I can say I achieved way more than I expected and I'm very proud of what all I have done in the sport.
“I fulfill my dream of becoming a racer and this is something I really didn't expect when I was a kid watching TV and watching all the riders in the world championship.
“I would like to take this time to say thanks to Dorna and Honda for giving me this opportunity back in 1999, also Movistar at the time, Repsol, Red Bull, Arai and Alpine Stars to be with me throughout my career.
“I would like to say thanks to my family, who are here, and also all the fans that supported me throughout my career, through thick and thin, and that helped me to overcome many difficult situations in the past. But now it's a new chapter and I'm happy to start.
Pedrosa entered the World Championship in 2001 in the 125cc class with Honda, with whom he would remain for the entirety of his grand prix career.
He would go on to win the 2003 125cc crown, before adding double 250cc titles to his CV, which secured him a promotion to the premier class with the factory Honda team for 2006.
Pedrosa has since won 31 MotoGP races on top of the 23 he secured in the lower classes, taking victory at least once in all seasons apart from his 2001 debut, and has finished runner-up in the MotoGP Championship three times.
The 32-year-old heads into the ninth round in Germany 12th in the current standings with 41 points, having endured an unlucky start to his 2018 campaign thanks to a wrist injury picked up in Argentina, as well as becoming unwittingly caught up in a collision between Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez.
Current Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli is expected to join the Petronas team, while the seat originally set for Pedrosa has been linked to current Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista and Moto2 winners Lorenzo Baldassarri and Fabio Quartararo.
During the press conference, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed Pedrosa will become an official MotoGP legend in a ceremony at the season finale in Valencia.