June 5 (Reuters) - MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will have a new team mate next year after Honda announced on Tuesday that Dani Pedrosa was leaving at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Spaniard, whose top flight career has been plagued by injury and operations, has spent his entire grand prix career with the Japanese manufacturer since his 125cc debut in 2001.
“I want to thank HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) for all these years of great success. I have grown not only as a rider but also as a person with them,” said the rider, who was 125cc champion in 2003 and took 250cc crowns in 2004 and 2005.
“In life we all need new challenges and I feel it’s time for a change.”
Pedrosa has won 31 grands prix with Honda and is a three times runner-up in MotoGP.
He has yet to finish on the podium this year, however, and is currently 12th. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alexander Smith)