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Okada sceptical about Honda full-time engine switch

Okada sceptical about Honda full-time engine switch

Having only put in wet laps of Mugello with Honda´s pneumatic valve engine, Tadayuki Okada speculated on Friday that the motor was not quite ready for the regular riders to use next weekend.

Sole development of the Honda pneumatic valve engine after an eight-year absence from competition was always going to be a tall order for Tadayuki Okada, but the task was made yet more difficult by the rainfall experienced at Mugello on Friday afternoon.

Ideal circumstances for an easy reintroduction to MotoGP action –and the opportunity to gather more general data on the RC212V motor- would have been a much drier Italian circuit to the one presented to the riders in their opening free practice runs. Okada came unstuck with a highspeed lowside in the second session, and although he escaped unharmed, the crash was nonetheless a setback for both rider and team.

`I think that right now the pneumatic valve engine performance level isn´t any higher than the standard version used by Dani and Nicky (Pedrosa and Hayden, Repsol Honda´s regular riders)´ admitted the former 500cc World Championship runner-up.

`It is kind of frustrating for HRC that it rained on Friday,´ said Hayden, one of the champions of the pneumatic valve engine, after the afternoon session. `They need some dry time, and I´m sure that they´ll get some of that this weekend. There´s a chance that I could be racing with what he´s using next weekend.´

Whilst the latest version of the Honda engine will be available to both full-time factory men in Catalunya next weekend, Okada is sceptical as to whether a change would be for the better.

`We´re talking about changing an engine in the middle of the season, which is difficult to which to adjust as it is very different. If we´re thinking about the championship, then it is better to stick with the engine that we have. We do, however, want to develop a better engine to that which we are using now.´

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

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