MotoGP: Michelin confident despite Valentino Rossi departure

Published: 05 November 2007

Michelin believe they still have a big enough talent pool to help wrestle back the MotoGP world championship from rivals Bridgestone in 2008.

While Bridgestone now have world champion Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi running on their tyres, Michelin will be joined by a host of rookies in 2008, including double world 250 champion Jorge Lorenzo, double World Superbike champion James Toseland and former world 125 champion Andrea Dovizioso.

Michelin still have experienced trio Nicky Hayden, Valencia GP winner Dani Pedrosa and Colin Edwards on their tyres in 2008, and Weber believes they can mount a formidable challenge to Bridgestone's domination.

Rossi has the been the lead development rider for Michelin for the last seven years and while Michelin boss Jean Philippe Weber admitted his departure was a blow, he said: "Valentino is a very good development rider and it was good to work with him for all these years. He was pushing well in the right directions, but on the other hand, did we focus everything on Valentino or not? Are we going to listen in a different way to the other riders?

 "|I'm not saying we didn't do it, but our analysis will be more focused on other riders and we do believe in their potential and we do believe we can do a great job with them. We have to focus on the riders who have experience. Next year we are happy to have some younger riders joining us because we have to prepare for the future. But the riders with experience will be really helpful for development."

Rossi's Yamaha squad announced yesterday in Valencia that he would switch to Bridgestone tyres in 2008. The Italian will test for the first time in Jerez later this month.