Joan Pedrero: “Dakar is very long and you need to know when to reduce the pace at the right moment and push when it’s needed.”
After two participations in the Dakar as an amateur, Joan Pedrero tasted last year what it means to be a rider within the KTM Team. As assistant for Marc Coma (@Marc Coma), The MRW rider already knows what it is to be in the winner team in a ruthless race where experience and team work are crucial. Combining his strength with the current winner of the race, Joan Pedrero has kept learning the secrets of an exciting race which he will face for the fourth time next January 1st.
The start of the race is nearer every day. Are you looking forward to start the Dakar?
“Yes, a lot, and fortunately the date to leave for Argentina is closer every day. We are preparing the race with training, navigation and small technical details. Very few days left!”
This is your fourth Dakar, the second with the MRW Red Bull AMV. Do you feel a lot of difference between the preparation you had before and the one you have now?
“It is completely different. Before I raced as a private rider and now I am in an official team. Everything is more prepared, with a physiologist, a nutritionist, physical trainer, we do official tests… I am very happy to be in a powerful winning team.”
Which areas have you improved and which do you think you can improve?
Pedrero: “Professionally I’ve improved a lot, we have a team that guides me and makes things easier. As a rider I’ve improved in speed. I’m very consistent and I learned to finish races.”
“Professionally I’ve improved a lot, we have a team that guides me and that makes things easier. As a rider I’ve improved in speed. I am very consistent and I learnt to finish races. The Dakar is very long and you need to know when to reduce the pace at the right moment and push when it’s needed. We also improved in navigation and we are progressing step by step in all areas.”
What is your job as the assistant?
“Mainly to give support to Marc [Coma] in any circumstances we could find, such as changing a wheel or whatever. We have to be there, close and at 100% in case he has any problem.”
The advantage for you is that you can learn from a World Champion and a Dakar winner. What have you learnt from Marc Coma?
“I learnt a lot, even small details as the way to mark the roadbook. I learn every day details he has that help me go better in the race. You have a guide and learn a lot every day, when you race as a private rider it is totally different.”
What is your aim for this race?
“Above all, that Marc [Coma] wins the Dakar, that is my job. See that there is no problem and if it is like that, my personal result will show for itself. If he has a problem I will have a double one, but let’s see how it goes. I think we can do a good race; Marc can win the Dakar. For me, last year I was fifth and I think this season we can be up front again.”
You have been training in Morocco, which conditions did you find?
“The tests in Morocco are very special because, apart from training in similar situations as the ones we will find in South America, we always have a lot of fun. The atmosphere is very good and I am very grateful to the mechanics and the team.”
In that type of tests, which is your pace?
“The tests are always at a slightly slower pace than the race to avoid any injuries. The Dakar is very near and we need to be careful to avoid any trouble in the race.”
Born in 1978, Joan Pedrero has a wide experience in the enduro world. Nevertheless, his dream was to compete one day in the Dakar, live the adventure of his life. He had the opportunity in 2008 with a humble team with a solidarity aim. With the excitement of a rookie, Pedrero went to Lisboa to take part in the mythical African race, but just that year the organizers were forced to cancel the race due to terrorist threats.
The rider from Canet de Mar took the blow and next year crossed the ocean to be at the start of the first edition of the South American Dakar. The beginning was not as expected. An electrical failure forced him to lose 11 hours in the first day. However, after this first setback everything went better. The rookie started to gain confidence and did not disappoint. He was able to finish among the top 10 in one of the stages and after 15 hard and intensive days, Joan Pedrero achieved his aim: to complete the Dakar in his first participation —in 42nd. position.
After his first experience in South America, Pedrero was not sure if he would be able to continue taking part in that magnificent race. The high budget required by the Dakar was a barrier difficult to overcome by an amateur rider. But thanks to many efforts, in 2010 he took the step he needed to be known in the raids world. With a rented KTM he was able to take the tenth place in the Dakar, becoming the best classified Spanish and Amateur rider in the race.
That performance gave him widespread recognition and the possibility to enter the MRW KTM Team together with Marc Coma in the following year. Pedrero accepted the challenge and became the assistant of the three times Dakar winner. Together they achieved a faultless result in that edition: Coma won the race for the third time and Pedrero achieved the fifth final position. A feat that allowed him to enter the elite of the Dakar; a dream come true.
For the 2012 Dakar edition, the challenge for the MRW rider is even harder. After showing his great potential in a race as tough as the Dakar, the bar he has set with his amazing performance of last year is very high. His advantages are his humility and his willingness to keep progressing and learning.