EXCLUSIVE: interview with Moto GP star Dani Pedrosa

Ahead of the opening Moto GP round in Qatar on March 29, Spanish speed demon Dani Pedrosa talks inspiration, rivalry and what it feels like to stand on top of the podium.

Peter Iantorno March 26, 2015

He may be small in stature (standing at just 1.58 metres), but what Dani Pedrosa lacks in height, he more than makes up for in heart.

The fearless Spaniard has been racing at the sharp end of MotoGP for the best part of 10 years, competing in more than 150 races and taking 94 podiums, including 26 victories. Going into the opening race of the new MotoGP season, which takes place at Qatar's Losail International Circuit on Sunday, March 29, Pedrosa has high hopes that he wins for the first time in the Middle East, and gets a good start in his quest for that elusive first MotoGP title of his career.

He took a few minutes from his preparations to give us the lowdown on his inspirations, rivalry with his teammate Marc Marquez and the incredible feeling he gets when he stands on the top step of the podium.

Pre-race prep
Before a race is like a chess match. You must decide your strategy and you must have every possibility in your mind before the light turns green. I try to do the normal things like everyone. I’m not a guy who likes to talk too much on race day. When you try to think too much, that’s when your instincts suffer. I don’t like to waste my energy and I keep myself to my self. pedrosa marcquezTaking inspiration
I’m inspired by true things: feelings, emotions. Motivation for me is overcoming difficult situations and facing challenges. This is what inspires me. I especially look up to Michael Jordan. When I was a kid there were many things I could learn from his example, and now I’m an adult and living my dream, I admire him even more because I can relate to him as a sportsman a bit more than when I was younger.

The top step
There’s no way to describe the feeling of standing on the top step of the podium. It’s such a strange feeling, because normally even in a year you’re successful, to win a race is extremely difficult, so tough that when you do, all these emotions you’ve been keeping inside are released. It feels great because of all the effort you’ve given and all the good and bad times you’ve been through are remembered.

Stick to the plan
There was never a Plan B for me. Since I was a baby, I’ve always liked motorbikes and that was always what I was going to do with my life. Unfortunately I’ve had many injuries. I had three really bad ones, where I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep going, but just winning two or three races a year is enough to keep me motivated to carry on. The feeling when you step on that top step is just so good. 2014 Pedrosa Brno 

Taking on Qatar
The layout of the Qatar track is difficult. It’s a place I always struggle and I rarely find my best form there, but as an event it’s really good. It was the first-ever race to take place at night and recently it’s grown a lot. At first the crowds were quite small, but now lots of people to come to watch us, and that makes it even better.

Friendly rivalry
Marc [Marquez – current world champion and teammate to Pedrosa] is a very good driver and he has a very funny personality. He’s a young kid and he’s a bit wild at the moment. He’s also really hard competition, because he’s super strong and I have to be at my best to compete with him. I’m the experienced one and I can develop the bike in a better way than Marc, but he’s riding very well and the team is very happy to have two top riders.

High hopes
This season I am aiming to win the championship, of course. I know it’s very hard because of the competition – Marc, [Valentino] Rossi and [Jorge] Lorenzo. We’re talking about the World Championship: it’s 18 races and anything can happen, but I’m very interested in the challenge, so I’m aiming to take the title. Details: Dani Pedrosa is a brand ambassador for Cvstos watches. For more visit cvstos.com