PARIS: Spain’s Dani Pedrosa, a three-time world MotoGP championship runner-up, announced on Thursday he will retire at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Honda rider, who won the 125cc category in 2003 and 250cc in 2004 and 2005, is at 12th spot of the MotoGP standings ahead of this weekend’s German race at the Sachsenring.
One of the most successful riders of all time, Pedrosa has the third most podiums and 54 wins over his 18-year career.
Pedrosa found out in June he would be replaced at Honda next season by Jorge Lorenzo, who signed from Ducati.
“Next year I won’t compete in the championship, I’ll finish my career in MotoGP this season,” said Pedrosa, who has raced for Honda since his 125cc debut in 2001.
“It’s a decision I’ve thought about for a long time and it’s a 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 the same intensity as before and I now have different priorities in my life,” he added.
Pedrosa is yet to post a Top 3 finish this season, and trails teammate and standings leader Marc Marquez by 99 points after only seven races.
Honda decided to move for Ducati’s Lorenzo, who was world champion three times in the top class while with Yamaha in 2010, 2012, and 2015.
Marquez was full of praise for Pedrosa, who has helped him win four MotoGP crowns.
“Thanks Dani for being the mentor of many riders, we looked up to you when following our dreams. You’ve been a fantastic teammate,” wrote the Spaniard on Twitter.
MotoGP organizers said that Pedrosa would be added to the sport’s hall of fame at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix, which will be his final race.
He has suffered numerous injuries in recent years including to his ankles and shoulder, perhaps preventing him from winning the MotoGP title.
The closest he came to realizing his dream was in 2012, when he finished just 18 points behind Lorenzo.
Only legendary Italian Valentino Rossi (373) and Loris Capirossi (328) have started more Grands Prix than Pedrosa’s 285.
Pedrosa will turn his attentions to his attempt to extend his record run of consecutive seasons with at least one race win to 18 years.