Sepang MotoGP: Valentino Rossi to learn Bridgestone decision tomorrow

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Valentino Rossi will find out tomorrow (Friday) whether his pressure to dump Michelin tyres for a shock switch to Bridgestone has paid off.

The 28-year-old though cast doubt on his plans to run the same tyres as newly-crowned MotoGP world Casey Stoner tonight in Sepang after he revealed Yamaha wanted to keep its factory team on Michelin rubber in 2008.

The seven-time world champion said the decision was out of his hands, but he has definitely submitted a formal request to Yamaha management to run Bridgestone rubber next season.

Valentino Rossi believes tyres have been the fundamental reason for his crushing defeat to Aussie Casey Stoner in 2007, and he is insisting on his factory YZR-M1 being fitted with Bridgestone tyres.

MCN has learned Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, will fly into Kuala Lumpur for crunch talks with Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta tomorrow (Friday) morning.

Top of the agenda will be a potential deal for Valentino Rossi, and also the implications of the Italian not getting his wish to axe Michelin.

The saga has brought the option of a controversial one-make tyre rule back into the equation. Carmelo Ezpeleta floated the plan at last month’s Japanese MotoGP, after Yamaha and Honda failed to secure tyre deals with Bridgestone.

With no Bridgestone deal for Valentino Rossi, Ezpeleta may try and push through a one-make tyre rule for 2008 at a Grand Prix Commission on Saturday.

Adding another twist is a rumour in Sepang Dani Pedrosa has voiced his anger to Honda about remaining on Michelin rubber next season.

Honda had told Michelin they would not quit for next season to help avoid a one-make tyre rule being pushed through. But after he faded from pole position to a distant fourth in last weekend’s Australian MotoGP, there is speculation in Malaysia he has again voiced concerns to HRC management about staying with Michelin.

Adding to his worries is the prospect his two main title rivals in Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner could well end up racing on Bridgestone tyres.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt