Monday, May 26, 2008

Tadayuki Okada to return to MotoGP with pneumatic-valve Honda RC212V

From left: Tadayuki Okada (bike no.8) during his racing days in 500cc GPs. The 41 year old veteran will be making a comeback at the Italian MotoGP at Mugello...

Japanese rider Tadayuki Okada, who won four 500cc GPs between 1996 and 2000, will return to MotoGP after an eight year absence from the sport. The 41-year-old Okada will race at the Italian GP at Mugello this weekend, riding the first iteration of the pneumatic-valve Honda RC212V.

Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa have earlier tested the pneumatic-valve RC212V, but Mugello will be the bike’s racing debut. And Okada, who’s worked as a test rider for HRC and who’s said to have made a significant contribution to the RC211V’s overall development, just might end up springing a surprise on some unsuspecting young racers in the Italian MotoGP.

‘My last grand prix race was at Phillip Island in 2000, so it's more than seven years since I last raced in GPs. I am really looking forward to Mugello – the long straight should suit my machine with its pneumatic-valve engine. Finally, it is ready to race now,’ says Okada, who's only coming back for one race. Of course, if the pneumatic-valve engine does well, Hayden and Pedrosa will get the new engine for future races in this season.

‘I scored some good results on 500s at Mugello. I finished on the podium in 1999 but in 1998 I was battling for the lead with Mick Doohan when I highsided and broke a wrist. The track is a very technical course with tricky right and left corners,’ says the Japanese veteran. Well, we wish you all the best Tadayuki san – go out and show ’em you can still ride with the best…

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