MONTEREY, CA, JULY 19: Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa has withdrawn from the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, effectively killing his MotoGP World Championship hopes. The Spaniard rode in considerable pain on Friday, finishing the day 15th out of 19 riders. On Saturday morning he made the decision to withdraw and return to Spain. “This has been a very difficult decision to take, but there really is no alternative,” Pedrosa said in a team statement. “Yesterday I struggled a lot. I rode in the morning using only painkilling pills and the pain was incredible, so I had an anti-pain infiltration before the afternoon session. Despite that, I still had a lot of pain. I did a nine lap run and it felt like 40 laps. “When I woke this morning I had a lot of pain and the fingers were very swollen. I knew that I couldn’t finish the race in these conditions. To face 32 laps would have been impossible, especially since this track is very physically demanding, with many uphill and downhill sections and many left-handers which demand a lot of effort from the left hand and arm. At least I tried – if I had stayed at home I would never have known if I could have ridden. Now I have three weeks to recover and do all the necessary rehabilitation to be ready to race in Brno in the best-possible condition.” Two races ago, Pedrosa was leading the MotoGP World Championship by four points over Valentino Rossi, with Casey Stoner 29 points out of first. Then came Pedrosa’s crash out of the German Grand Prix, which garnered him no points and cost him the title lead. Pedrosa suffered a fracture to both his left clutch finger and wrist, in addition to a sprained ankle. He flew to Barcelona where he was treated and where he made the decision to try to race in the U.S. Despite the best efforts of the team and various medical personnel, nothing could be done to make Pedrosa comfortable and pain-free, so he withdrew. It was the first race he wasn’t able to start since the end of 2003, when broken ankles ruled him out the last two 125cc races in Australia and Valencia. Following the race in Germany, Pedrosa fell 16 points behind Rossi, with Stoner only four points behind. The gap is certain to widen with Sunday’s running of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Pedrosa now has three weeks to heal during the summer break before the series resumes in Brno for the Czech GP on Aug. 17.
UPDATED: Pedrosa Out
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.