MotoGP: Ducati not pursuing Michelin deal

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Ducati bosses refused to deny in Valencia they had contacted Michelin in response to Valentino Rossi’s controversial move to Bridgestone.

Disgruntled at the way Valentino Rossi’s switch to use the same tyres as new world champion Casey Stoney was politically manoeuvred, with Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta playing a pivotal role in securing the Italian a release from Michelin, rumours emerged in Spain of a potential shock switch back to Michelin for Ducati.

But Bologna bosses denied they had seriously considered a move away from Bridgestone after Casey Stoner dominated in 2007 with 10 victories.

Marlboro Ducati team boss Livio Suppo confirmed brief discussions, but denied they had gone as far as requesting Michelin tyres for Casey Stoner.

Ducati left Michelin at the end of 2004 to join Bridgestone, and Casey Stoner was highly critical of his treatment by the French factory in his rookie MotoGP campaign with the LCR Honda squad.

Livio Suppo said: “We have a good relationship with Michelin. When we left it was very clear that we didn’t leave because we weren’t happy with the treatment.

“We just left because we because we thought it were a better strategy for us to be with Bridgestone.

“I think the package we have at the moment has proven to be unbeatable this season and the confidence Casey has with the package is unbelievable.”

Commenting on final confirmation Valentino Rossi had secured a tyre deal with Bridgestone next season to get on the same rubber as Casey Stoner, Livio Suppo said: “Everybody talks about Rossi on Bridgestone but you still have to beat Dani Pedrosa on a Honda.

“But I’m happy that Casey will have the chance to prove that it was not just the tyres or the bike this season.”


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt