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Okada´s Mugello return could have Catalunya consequences

Okada´s Mugello return could have Catalunya consequences

Tadayuki Okada´s wildcard appearance in Mugello this weekend will be important for the development of the pneumatic valve engine –a motor that Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa may use in Catalunya.

The oldest rider on this weekend´s MotoGP grid, Tadayuki Okada has a full 20 years on youngest rider Jorge Lorenzo. His experience counts as a virtue for Honda, who are using the veteran Japanese rider to test out their pneumatic valve engine in a more high-pressure scenario.

The 41 year-old is riding with Repsol Honda colours at Mugello, on a third bike for the factory team. Depending on the data collected, the new motor could see a second appearance in as many weekends when the MotoGP World Championship hits Catalunya –this time at the disposal of regular riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa.

`This race isn´t about results, it´s more important for us to verify the power of the engine in a race situation,´ said Okada, a former 500cc World Championship runner-up.

`It was a big move for me to enter a race again. I´ve competed in the Suzuka 8 Hour race, but a sprint race is something that I´m not used to anymore. I don´t know if I´ll be able to ride at the same level as the current riders, but I´m eager to see if I can! I want to finish this race to aid the development process.´

That´s not to say that Okada has not been a busy man as of late. He tested the new engine as recently as last week, and also set aside a special run-out focused on this week´s Grand Prix.

Regular rider and former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden was pleased with Honda´s decision to bring in hired hands, especially one with the pedigree of Okada. The one-off wildcard has more premier class experience than the American and his Spanish counterpart combined, and could open the door for the use of a combination more to Hayden´s liking than the current package.

`It´s going to be a big test for Tady, to see if the engine lasts, what the fuel consumption is like and get some data. I think that Honda are making the right move; instead of just having Tady out there in Japan they´ve brought him to a real circuit to try this out,´ said Hayden in Thursday afternoon´s press conference.

`Hopefully it´s good, and hopefully we´ll be using it in Barcelona. I prefer this chassis with that engine. Even when the engine was really behind, for me the chassis worked a lot better with it.´

MotoGP, 2008, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA ALICE, Repsol Honda Team

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