Puig defends Pedrosa after Schwantz comments

Dani Pedrosa's manager reacts sharply to criticism from former great

DANI Pedrosa's manager Alberto Puig has engaged in a war of words with 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz, after the latter voiced his (negative) opinion of Puig. 

Schwantz was quoted in the Spanish media as saying: 'Dani lacks nothing but he has too much, like Alberto Puig. Dani needs to reach another level by himself. He is like a child whose parents are holding him back. I like Dani, but he has been a factory Honda rider for eight years and never won anything. I would like him to prove me wrong, but I don't think he will.'

Puig reacted strongly, issuing a lengthy (over 1,000 words!) response, which has since been published on the official MotoGP site. Terming Schwantz's comments 'disrespectful', Puig began by analysing the stats:

'Pedrosa has a total of 45 Grand Prix victories, while the Texan is on 25 (so it is almost double). Of those 45 victories for Dani, 22 have been in the top class; added to that is the fact that Pedrosa is credited with 113 podium finishes – 72 in the MotoGP class to Schwantz’s 51 – and 55 fastest laps (35 of those 55 in MotoGP) to Schwantz’s 26.'

Evidently bristling at Schwantz's words about Puig holding back Pedrosa, he said: 'While most riders would usually travel around Europe with a friend or companion, [Schwantz] would never take a step without having both his parents by his side. The truth is that it was unusual at that time to be working in such a way and it rather gave off the image of a boy who needed his parents close to him all day long. When you consider his recent words about me, does this not beg the question: had he not had his parents by his side all day long, protecting him, might he have won more titles?'

He went on to remind Schwantz of his own record in racing, as well as comparing their coaching successes: 

'You have that title – which took you eight years since your first race in 1986 – but let me tell you that the reason is because Wayne Rainey crashed at Misano and had to stop competing that year, which meant you practically won the title by default. You were a great rider – super spectacular, too – but by looking just at the results, you always stood in the shadow of Eddie Lawson and then Wayne Rainey. 

'Since I retired from racing I have worked very hard on the subject of promoting riders; usually with Dani Pedrosa, but I have also helped and directed at certain times the careers of riders like Casey Stoner, Toni Elias, Alvaro Bautista, Marc Marquez and Julian Simon. And all of them, all of them, have become World Champions. You, Mr. Schwantz, have a riding school in Texas that for years has been offering help to upcoming riders. To this day, not one of them has managed to even qualify to come to race in Europe. Nothing at all. So, in that field, zero success.'

Pedrosa himself reacted to Schwantz's comments by saying: 'I recommend that you check my career statistics and then maybe we can talk. I may never have won the MotoGP World Championship, but have achieved things many others have not.'