Michelin quits MotoGP, Bridgestone becomes single tire supplier

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Ducati_bridgestone.jpgMichelin failed to tender a proposal to become MotoGP’s single tire
supplier for 2009, giving the contract to Bridgestone by default. The
decision comes after a disastrous season for riders using Michelin
tires, with Dani Pedrosa making the unprecedented decision to switch to
Bridgestone mid-season. But why did Michelin decide not to enter the
running and what does this mean for MotoGP racing?
>Dorna’s
decision to implement a single tire rule came after disastrous
performances by Michelin riders. While teams and riders were worried
about competitiveness, Dorna was worried that the gap between the two
tire makers was reducing the spectacle of racing, driving away viewers
and costing the company money. With every team but Ducati opting for
Bridgestones for the 2009 season, Michelin failed to live up to minimum
number of bikes a tire maker is allowed to supply: 40%, thus prompting
the single maker decision.

Dorna then issued a request for
proposal from tire makers interested in becoming the single tire
supplier. The deadline for that proposal was yesterday, with
Bridgestone being the only company to respond.

Regarding its
decision to not apply for the contract, Michelin says, “The MotoGP
world championship organizers have decided to use a single tire
supplier for the coming seasons, which effectively eliminates the
competitive environment that has led to so much progress. The R&D
resources allocated for MotoGP racing will be redeployed to support
innovation, which is at the heart of Michelin’s customer-focused
strategy.”

Despite leveling the playing field for riders next
season, the single tire rule has come under much criticism. This is
partially due to Dorna’s lack of transparency, with boss Carmelo
Ezpeleta insisting the rule was implemented for safety reasons, rather
than the more obvious benefit of increasing spectacle for viewers.
Competition among tire makers in MotoGP has traditionally been a
development ground for new technology, which then trickled down to
consumer products. A recent example of that development is dual
compound tires, which were first developed by Michelin before being
implemented in their commercial sportsbike tire range. It’s widely
believed that the process of development in MotoGP will be slowed by
this decision.

On the other hand, the rule change removes a
non rider-controlled variable from the racing equation, which could
lead to increased competitiveness across the grid and make it possible
for smaller teams to be more competitive as they’ll now have equal
access to the same tires as everyone else.

via Michelin

  • ep

    Can someone in one or two sentences tell me why Pirelli isn’t in MotoGP?

  • Ben

    EP: I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it has to do with Michelin and Bridgestone being only tire suppliers for MotoGP up to this point. With Pirelli being the supplier for SBK they don’t have the resources necessary to do GP and Dunlop hasn’t really had any GP tires in a while. We’ll see what happens with DMG/AMA with the proposed single tire rule for next year. I’m all for the MIC series instead.

  • Jon Ramone

    F%^& Bridgestone!!

  • http://setthemfree.tumblr.com sasha Pave

    A better option would be removing regulations from tire choice and allow each rider make their own decisions. This whole idea of tire manufacturers making decisions for the entire weekend is ridiculous.

  • Ben

    The whole reason they implemented the current (up to and including ’08 season) tire regs were to control cost. Michelin was baking tires on site at each GP, for the specific weather and track conditions. No other tire manufacture had the resources to do that, so they implemented the rules to level the field. It was this rapid, high cost production that gave Michelin their advantage. Now that they’re unable to do so, we see the domination of Bridgestone. A few years ago, the winners, including Rossi, were all on Michelin’s, and had their been talk of a control tire Michelin would have been “it.” What bothers me is Dorna’s choice of words, such as safety concerns. I would rather they admit it was to create parity, which, in theory, will make closer racing, which in turn brings in more spectators, which brings Dorna more money. It’s a capitalist race series, we either have to live with it, or start are own. I for one would love to see unlimited two wheel drive streamliners with counter balanced tails whipping around the track at hellatious speeds, but I’m not paying for the series. Right now I just hope Casey can hold on to second.