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.

"Everybody starts from zero point at Indy. Dani got a good feeling from his new tyres and the pneumatic-valve engine at the Misano tests, so now we look forward to more progress," said team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. "At Indy he will need all his ability to set-up a machine quickly,"

Hayden was apparently not given the option to change tyres, and will thus remain with Michelin for the rest of the season. However, the biggest factor in the home star's competitiveness next weekend is likely to be physical; the 2006 world champion having missed the last two rounds due to a heel injury.

"Indy's going to be a big challenge for everyone, but I quite enjoy going to new circuits," declared Nicky. "We will use the data the test teams got when they tested there in July to help line up the transmission and so on. The track layout doesn't look so spectacular, because it's inside an oval so there's not a lot of room for them to work with, and it's quite flat.

"But Indy has a long history and a big tradition and they know how to promote a race. I think they're going to smash it - put on an awesome event. For me it's crazy to be racing a GP three hours from my house!" he smiled.

"I just wish I was going into it healthy. It's not been long since Misano, though going left should be better for my right foot. It's a good time to go home and get some support from the fans. We'll give it all we've got and try to get a good result for them," he declared.

"I am looking forward to seeing Nicky race again and using all his energy and fighting spirit that he wasn't able to use at Brno and Misano," said Yamano. "Indy is his home GP, so his family and friends will be there to cheer him. I am sure he will show them a fantastic race."



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