Dani Pedrosa’s rivals old and new paid tribute to the retiring icon at the pre-race press conference at the Sachsenring, barely an hour after he had announced his retirement.
Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez said: “Dani is one of the most important riders in MotoGP. I want to say thank you because he was one of my heroes … to all the kids. It has been a pleasure to be his team-mate.”
Long-time rival Valentino Rossi said: “It is a great shame because our sport is losing one of the best riders. Also a great shame that he never won the World Championship. I think he deserved at least one.” He added: “His style was really technical and clean. He was also one of the first to pick up the bike in acceleration.”
Compatriot Maverick Vinales had been inspired by him as a youth. “Dani was our reference when I was a kid. When I started racing he was starting to win in 125.”
Andrea Dovizioso, who raced him in all three classes, said: “He was always a really strong rival. I arrived in the championship one year after him. I studied him, and I learned a lot, specially in 125 and 250, specially the way he prepared the weekend. And he was already picking up the bike to accelerate in 250.”
Finally, Jack Miller mentioned his admiration “for what he did in MotoGP with his size. He had to have a lot of talent to cope with the difficulties.”