There's an unwritten rule in MotoGP, never underestimate Pedrosa. This goes for the races, because Dani has often defied expectations in the past, but also for the market. This year, the big names made their move early on, Rossi signed a renewal in Qatar and Lorenzo made his plans to move to Ducati official before Jerez.
Marquez's destiny is still linked to Honda of course, but what about his teammate? For several weeks there have been rumours that Yamaha is interested in Pedrosa, a hypothesis that will perhaps come to nothing but one that proves the Spaniard is highly regarded on the market.
Pedrosa will turn 31 in September and made his debut in the reigning class in 2006, always remaining in the ranks of the factory Repsol HRC team. He may have never won the world title but there isn't a season in which he hasn't won at least one race, and not many riders can say that. He is a cert: fast, correct, not one to create trouble.
The perfect second rider, for the detractors, but in fact there are no other sparring partners of his calibre around. Fact. And if his name is always included when it comes to talk of the Magnificent 4, there must be a reason.
After such a long career with the Japanese manufacturer, it's difficult to imagine him anywhere else, but someone is doing just that. Livio Suppo, team principal at Honda, pulls the brake: “I'm positive, our priority is to reconfirm our current team and both Marc and Dani have told us that theirs is to stay with us”.
Why has Pedrosa become so important? Best case scenario, Dani would stay where he is, Vinales would go to Yamaha and Suzuki would take either Iannone or Dovizioso, while the other would keep his place in Ducati.
But things with Maverick are moving slowly and in Iwata they are also considering his possible refusal. If that were to happen, they might try to snatch Dani from their rivals, which would leave Honda out in the cold. Of course the opposite could also happen, Pedrosa could say no to Yamaha leaving them in the same predicament (at that point, betting on Rins might be an option in order to give the sponsor its Spanish rider).
Or maybe KTM will make a move, though convincing him to make such a jump into the unknown would probably require a significant financial offer.
So Honda continues with its negotiations. “We've started talking with both riders. If Dani were to go, we have some ideas, but it's premature to talk. We want to reach a deal with them”, underlines Suppo.
And as soon as possible, because this market opened early and will close early. “I think it will all be worked out by the Barcelona GP”, promises the Italian manager, called upon to ward off (predominantly financial) attacks by the competition.