British Superbikes is close to announcing a single tyre supplier to cover both the Superbike and Supersport classes for 2008.
But while it looks like it will be a straight fight between Dunlop and Pirelli to secure the deal, insiders are talking about a bid coming from another party, possibly Michelin.
They could lose their involvement in MotoGP with Bridgestone appearing to be the hot favourites to clinch the single tyre supplier there.
Of the three, Pirelli already have vast experience of managing the logistics required to service a single tyre paddock. They provide tyres for all classes of racing in World Superbikes.
Dunlop currently supply the bulk of the British Superbike teams and 50% of the supersport field with their product.
Michelin currently only provide a service to the HRC-backed HM Plant Honda team but sources within the British Superbikes paddock are not discounting the French company bidding for the British Superbikes deal, should they lose their involvement in MotoGP.
The governing body of British Superbikes, the MCRCB, has been evaluating the possibility of a single tyre supplier across both classes since September 22 and, with the evidence gained from the teams, riders and tyre companies, have decided to go ahead with their plans to run control tyre regulations for both classes next year.
The MCRCB researched other motor racing series and claim, ‘there is compelling evidence that the application of this regulation will address the most pertinent issue being debated in worldwide motorsport – ie: the equal distribution of a consumable product, which has the clear ability to influence the results of the competition.’
Other findings were the amount of annual competition budget allocated to tyre purchase and the amount of tyres consumed during test and race events. Both these areas will be addressed under the new control tyre.
The MCRCB is now commencing a tender process and it is expected than following the publication of an “Invitation to Tender” (ITT) document will follow.
Upon publication of the ITT, a period of approximately ten working days will be allowed for the submission of proposals, following which the MCRCB will announce a date when the selection will be made.