Air At Last: Hayden Gets Air Valve Engine For Donington

MotoGP news sites everywhere will be having to work a little bit harder from this Sunday: After months and months of speculation, HRC has finally announced that Nicky Hayden will give Honda's new pneumatic valve engine its first official outing at Donington Park this weekend. According to Mike Nicks at, Hayden will only have the air valve engine at his disposal, and will not be using the steel spring power plant at all at the British Grand Prix.

The move makes a lot of sense for Hayden, who has never got along with the old engine since its introduction last year. Hayden told HRC engineers he had a better feeling with the new bike, and considering his current lowly position in the championship standings, he has little to lose. Hayden will be hoping that he can put the extra horsepower and revs to good use at the British track.

Hayden's Repsol Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa will be sticking with the steel spring engine, the Spaniard managing to win 2 Grand Prix and holding 2nd place in the title race on board the old bike. Pedrosa will be happy to let his team mate test the reliability and performance of the engine in a few races before deciding on a switch himself. Luckily for news editors, as now they can just switch their speculation from the question of when Hayden will get the new engine, to when Pedrosa will make the switch.

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That testing new equipment in the midst of a season makes sense for Nicky. His championship year HRC saddled him with the upcoming parts from the 07 bike and it killed him several times (crappy clutch). Having to develop a bike clearly designed for his "teammate" has to be monumentally frustrating but that just made me appreciate Nicky even more. He did what was asked of him, even in the face of being hampered while chasing the championship. I think if he gets positive results from this then good on him. He needs to look out for #69 and screw the rest. I know he probably wouldn't take that line but I wouldn't blame him if he did.

He said early on that the new chassis with the "air" engine was much better balanced and more to his liking, doing the hybrid new chassis/old engine has been a struggle. I belive that Dani is an excellent rider, he's done a lot with the current setup. I just have never liked his attitude.

Go Nicky!