Michelin 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?
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.
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
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
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.