1 January 1901
Pedrosa to race pneumatic at Indy.
Dani Pedrosa will make his race debut on Bridgestone tyres and the pneumatic-valve Honda RC212V during next weekend's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The pneumatic engine was intended to be raced from the start of this season, but development delays saw both Pedrosa and Repsol team-mate Nicky Hayden remain on the standard valve-spring design for the start of this season.
Hayden then switched to the pneumatic as soon as possible, race-developing the unit from June's British Grand Prix and claiming a best finish of fourth, while Pedrosa has remained on the older design - claiming two race wins and leading the world championship until falling at the wet German Grand Prix on July 13.
After a loss of confidence in his Michelin tyres at recent events, Pedrosa stunned the paddock by securing an instant switch to Bridgestone rubber from Indianapolis onwards. The Spaniard made his debut on the Japanese tyres during the post-race Misano test, when he also tried the pneumatic-valve engine for the first time since pre-season testing.
Whilst Pedrosa was able to effectively match his Michelin best with Bridgestone tyres on the valve-spring bike, the #2 lapped a massive 0.9secs quicker when he switched to the more powerful, but less refined, pneumatic.
After the test, Pedrosa said he was 'determined' to win his first race with Bridgestone tyres during the five remaining rounds of the year. However, Dani knows he faces a considerable challenge at Indy, where he will tackle a new circuit, with a new bike and new tyres.
"Indianapolis will be a very important weekend for us, but it's hard to say much about the track because we know so little about it," said Pedrosa. "My first test with Bridgestone went well. After leaving Misano we have worked with the data in order to make the best possible start at Indy.
"We only have four hours of practice on a completely new circuit, with new tyres and a new machine, so we will have to work very hard to make sure we get the best out of the package on race day.
"I have heard that the track isn't very grippy and it seems like there are quite a few tight and slow corners, so handling of the machine will be important. Anyway, we will do our best as always. And it will be good to ride in front of the American fans after I had to pull out of the Laguna GP due to the injuries I got in Germany," he added.
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