By Mike Nicks

Repsol Honda's 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden will ride the factory's new pneumatic-valve RC212V all through practice, qualifying and racing during the three days of the British MotoGP at Donington Park, Crash.net has learned.

The 26-year-old American will have two of the new high-revving bikes at his disposal, and will not alternate between the pneumatic-valve machine and the existing valve-spring factory bike.

"Nicky had a good feeling with the bike when he tested it for two days after the last grand prix at Barcelona," a Repsol Honda spokesperson said.

Hayden also has nothing to lose by trying what must still be regarded within HRC as an experimental design, as he holds only ninth place in the MotoGP championship and is out of contention for this year's world title.

His team-mate Dani Pedrosa, however, will use the valve-spring RC212V throughout the weekend.

The HRC crew has honed his 800cc V4 into a highly competitive bike, even though it is the only one of the four Japanese designs on the grid that still relies on valve-spring technology.

Pedrosa has already won two races on the bike this year, and is only seven points behind leader Valentino Rossi, on the Fiat Yamaha, in the title chase.

Also, Pedrosa was able to sample the pneumatic engine for only 10 laps at the Barcelona session before his testing was halted when he crashed, although this happened after he had switched to the valve-spring bike for tyre tests.

HRC test rider Tady Okada, who gave the pneumatic machine its grand prix debut at Mugello two races ago, said that the engine revs 1,000rpm higher than the existing machine, and that the bike a significant top speed advantage on tracks with long straights.

Hayden, who carried out the majority of winter testing with the pneumatic and is known to prefer the RCV's handling characteristics when using the new engine, will become the first Repsol Honda factory rider to run the bike in a MotoGP race.

 

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