Pedrosa To Run Pneumatic Valve Engine At Indy

Going in to Indianapolis, we already knew that big changes were ahead for Dani Pedrosa. The shock tire switch announced by Pedrosa and the Repsol Honda team, which saw Pedrosa dumping Michelin to use Bridgestones, meant that Pedrosa would race at Indianapolis on just one day of testing and a couple of days of practice on the Japanese rubber. It was a risk, but also an investment in the future.

With today's announcement, Pedrosa looks like he has decided to forget all about this season, and put all his cards on 2009. For today, the Repsol Honda team announced that Dani Pedrosa would not only be using Bridgestone tires at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, he would also be running the pneumatic valve engine which his team mate Nicky Hayden has been using since the British Grand Prix back in June.

Pedrosa had previously rejected using the air valve motor, as he was uncomfortable with the engine's more fierce power delivery, preferring the smoother steel valve spring engine. But after setting a lap of 1'34.652 during the post-race test at Misano, the Spaniard has decided to make the switch to the more powerful air valve bike.

With both the pneumatic valve engine and the Bridgestones underneath him, Pedrosa has already embarked on his preparations for the 2009 season. Both Repsol and Pedrosa are tired of waiting for the first Spanish champion since Alex Criville. Ten years, it seems, is enough.

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Perhaps the pneumatic engine has come along to the point where Pedrosa thinks it's a definite improvement over the spring valve engine and it's time to get on with developing it for the end of this season and for the 2009 season.  With the possibility that Repsol will be running a split garage in 2009, he'll need to do a lot of work now and in the off season so that he can challenge for the championship from the beginning.

Ooorrr, this is a clever and convenient built in excuse for a poor performance on his debut on Bridgestones.  With so many new variables to deal with the team could simply point to that fact if his shock midseason switch to Bridgestone starts out as a flop.

Of course, if Nicky Hayden smokes him on Michelins then the effectiveness of that potential excuse is lessened.  I hope this happens, but Nicky is still dealing with a painful injury and didn't seem too confident about his chances when interviewed during the race at Misano.

You're right to wonder about their motivations and which excuses they've already got written out.

However, with the popular presumption that Hayden will be out and Dovizioso will be in next year, HRC will be trying to cut down on how split that garage is.  Unless, of course, Dovi does not follow Puig's team orders and becomes the more successful half of the garage...

The more important questions are along this line...  If Honda can't get this pneumatic engine figured out by the end of the year, how many satellite teams will be willing to sign on for what will be a two-year old design that hasn't been successful?