Pedrosa prepares for final Island lap

Island Preview Series

Phillip Island, October 2006, and a MotoGP rookie named Dani Pedrosa makes his Australian Grand Prix debut aboard an orange Repsol-liveried Honda. It's an era that seems so long ago as to be unrecognisable.

Fast-forward 12 years, and as MotoGP prepares to return to the Island for the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018, Marquez is the undisputed king of MotoGP. Rossi is still a permanent fixture in the top three of the world championship. Miller is a MotoGP race winner. And Pedrosa is still aboard an orange Repsol-liveried Honda. But this time, there's no next time.

At the German Grand Prix in July this year, the 33-year-old Spaniard announced he'd be retiring from MotoGP at the end of the season, bringing down the curtain on an 18-year World Championship career that produced three world titles and a win tally that has him sitting comfortably among some of the biggest names ever to race in the sport.

The numbers don't lie with Pedrosa, and of all the overwhelming array of stats that sum up his career, two stand out; 54, and 0.

With 54 Grand Prix victories, the Spaniard sits equal seventh all-time in the sport's history books with none other than Australia's own 'Mighty' Mick Doohan. And 0, the number of MotoGP titles Pedrosa has achieved in that ultra-competitive 12-year run, which featured Rossi, Casey Stoner at the peak of his powers, Lorenzo and the force of nature that is Marquez.

Pedrosa's lengthy run of success – 2018, to date, is the only MotoGP season where he's yet to win a race, and the first season in 17 years where he's yet to see the view from the top step of the podium – speaks to his extraordinary longevity. 

"There are very few holes in Pedrosa's premier-class résumé."

It would be hard to find a rider braver than Pedrosa, or one that has come back from injury-related adversity more times. After his retirement announcement, the sport's world TV feed displayed a graphic of his injuries that featured no fewer than 19 entries.

"There's no doubt why he's broken his body so much, even with little crashes," says Miller. "Whenever he has a crash, the bike always flicks him into the air because the bike's so much bigger than him."

There are very few holes in Pedrosa's premier-class résumé, and if he was to break his 2018 drought, few would begrudge him doing it at Phillip Island. Since he won his final 250cc start at the Island in 2005, Australia hasn't been kind to the Spaniard, who has two podiums and a pole position among three front-row starts.

Pedrosa will be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at the annual end-of-season awards night in Valencia after the final Grand Prix of the year, and for Miller, it's an entirely appropriate honour.

"He's already a legend, multiple-time world champion in the lighter classes, and what he did in the MotoGP class with his size, he had such an immense talent to overcome the difficulties he had with the MotoGP bike," Miller says.

"It's been a pleasure to ride with him on track."  

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