Bridgestone boss Hiroshi Yamada believes Valentino Rossi has been the ringleader of a campaign to switch MotoGP to a one-make tyre rule in 2008.
Hiroshi Yamada admitted he was ‘very disappointed and shocked’ to learn that Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta had proposed a one-make tyre rule, during last month’s Japanese MotoGP, with the plan greeted with fierce opposition by the three tyre manufacturers.
And he believes Valentino Rossi has used his considerable influence to get Dorna to propose such a radical rule change.
“I think the power of Rossi is very strong with Mr Ezpeleta. I believe he is the main reason for this,” said Yamada, who added it was too early to announce whether Bridgestone would bid for the exclusive contract.
What has infuriated Yamada even more is the rule would arguably penalise the Japanese factory more so than rivals Michelin and Dunlop.
Having spent millions on development, Bridgestone has emerged from high-profile disasters to become the dominant tyre brand in MotoGP.
He is upset that at the first hint of problems for their rivals, most notably Michelin duo Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, Dorna is proposing a radical rule change.
Yamada confirmed the reason Bridgestone had refused to supply tyres to Yamaha and Honda’s factory teams in 2008 was to ensure competition remained.
He was aware Michelin would quit if they lost Yamaha and Honda.
“I am very, very disappointed. Our intention was not to supply Honda and Yamaha to keep competition. This has not been decided yet but if they decide to go to one-make rule then I’m very disappointed.
“If we have no competition then I won’t have the same feeling again that I did in Motegi when we won the championship. We weren’t expecting such a situation.
“Now we have to discuss internally about what our response will be and how we will approach the situation,” Yamada told MCN.
Asked if Bridgestone could supply tyres to the entire MotoGP grid for a test session in Valencia on November 6, 2007 – when a decision would only be taken by the Grand Prix Commission in Sepang on October 20 – Yamada added: “This would be very difficult in that time frame.
“We have 10 riders this year but maybe we have to supply 19, and maybe even more for test riders. Doubling the capacity is normally impossible.”