Dani Pedrosa has stated that he would 'welcome' the rumoured return of 990cc machines to MotoGP.

990cc four-strokes replaced 500cc two-strokes in MotoGP from 2002-2006, with engine capacity then cut to 800cc from 2007 to reduce top speeds.

That decision proved to be a costly mistake in almost every respect and, to quote Valentino Rossi, was "MotoGP's biggest mistake in the last 15 years".

Rider aids had become increasingly important during the 990cc era - which began in a haze of tyre smoke and power-slides - and the 800cc switch helped the electronics to all but kill-off such 'rebellious' motorcycle movement. The drop in torque also contributed to the often processional races, with any deviation from the racing line more heavily punished.

It took until this year's Catalan Grand Prix for an 800cc race to be won with a last lap pass while no satellite rider has yet won an 800cc race. Top speeds are also now higher than during the 990cc era.

But it seems that the worldwide financial crisis could help trigger the return of 990cc machines, after the five-year 800cc contract ends in 2011.

With only 17 full time riders, the MotoGP grid is badly in need of more affordable machines, and the initial concept of leasing 800cc engines for satellite teams to use inside their own chassis designs - similar to Moto2 - looks set to be dropped after only minimal cost savings were predicted.

Instead, MotoGP appears to be heading for a future consisting (at least partially) of modified 1000cc production engines - exactly the kind of bike WCM was banned from racing - with 'prototype' parts fitted inside and around a production block.

If, when and exactly how this might happen is still to be confirmed, but Pedrosa - who spent his first MotoGP season on a 990cc Honda (pictured) - hopes the rumours are true.

"2006 was my first year in MotoGP and the last for the 990cc. Those bikes were very different to those we ride now, that's true, and from my experience that year; they were a lot more fun," he said.

"Now, there are a lot of electronic adjustments that prevent it from being us who really control all of the parameters when we are riding.

"If we really do go back to the 990cc, they'll be welcome," Dani declared.

Should the MSMA (manufacturers association) chose the modified-production path, they will need to tread carefully to avoid conflict with the World Superbike Championship.


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