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MotoGP: Valentino Rossi set to stay with Michelin for 2008

Published: 11 September 2007

Valentino Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha boss Davide Brivio has told MCN that the Italian is likely to remain on Michelin tyres for the 2008 MotoGP world championship. 

Davide Brivio says he has told the 28-year-old Yamaha wants to continue with Michelin next season and not make a much rumoured switch to rivals Bridgestone.

Yamaha have been discussing with Bridgestone about a possible tyre deal for 2008, but with the Japanese manufacturer stating its intention to retain its current team’s for next season, such a move seems difficult at present.

Bridgestone boss Hiroshi Yamada has said extending its supply beyond 10 riders would be hard, and even Valentino Rossi admitted last week in Misano that a switch seemed ‘difficult.’

Michelin last week confirmed no deals were in place with Honda and Yamaha beyond the end of the current campaign, which has been a tough one for the French manufacturer.

Michelin has faced stinging criticism in some quarters having only won four of the opening 13 races in 2007.

But it seems they will be given one more year to pose a threat to Bridgestone with Brivio telling MCN he has had assurances of a renewed effort from Michelin.

“Now we think that Michelin can get back at the top level so we have said to Valentino that we want to continue with Michelin because we are confident that they can get back,” said Brivio, who confirmed thoughts of as Bridgestone switch.

“If we say that we never think to go Bridgestone for next year then me personally I wouldn’t be doing a good job in my position.

“We have to evaluate but you talk to the riders it doesn’t matter if its Bridgestone or Michelin, they just want the best and want what can allow them to win,” said Brivio, who denied some complaints from Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa in 2007 were just sour grapes as Ducati's Casey Stoner and Bridgestone’s success.

Davide Brivio said it was just crucial MotoGP got back some of the spectacular racing fans worldwide have become accustomed to after recent races in Brno, Laguna Seca and Sachsenring that even Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta labelled ‘boring.’

“I can understand the viewpoint but Pedrosa and Valentino don’t care about politics.

“They know they can fight for the victory but they are not doing this, so they just want to get the package to be able to fight for the victory.

“They are trying to guess what they need and thinking what about if we do this, or what about if we change the tyre rule?” said Brivio.

Michelin, Bridgestone and Dunlop are currently negotiating modifications to the current tyre rule and further meetings will take place this weekend in Portugal for the Estoril MotoGP.

“My personal opinion is the current rule and is not so bad. But if we have the chance to adjust the rule we should,” said Brivio.

“At this moment I guess Bridgestone doesn’t want to change the rules. All we want is to bring back Michelin and Bridgestone at a competitive level.

“I like to see Stoner fighting with Pedrosa, (Nicky) Hayden, and Valentino and to have more competitive races. I believe if we think about changing the rule we should think on this target to create more balance,” said Davide Brivio.

While declaring his support for a tweak in the rules, Brivio said also that the solution also needed to come from improved development from Michelin.

He added: “It is true in order to cerate more balance that Michelin has to work more on development. If we change the tyre rule but we don’t change the development the situation could be exactly the same.

“We could have double the number of tyres, we can go testing in every circuit, but the important thing is to change something in the development.

“The important thing is how the development will be approached from now on. I don’t think it’s enough to change the rule.”

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