Fiat Yamaha boss Davide Brivio has confirmed on the eve of the Estoril GP in Portugal this weekend that Valentino Rossi's factory YZR-M1 will definitely run on Michelin tyres in 2008.
With Michelin winning only four of the opening 13 races in 2007, there has been intense speculation that Rossi had been pushing Yamaha bosses to consider a switch to Bridgestone rubber next season.
But as expected Rossi and new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo will run on Michelin tyres in 2008, with Brivio confirming that Yamaha wouldn't be making a switch to Bridgestone, preferring instead to remain loyal to Michelin and try and develop a more competitive package to fight against Casey Stoner and Ducati.
Brivio also said that his personal view was to keep the current tyre allocation at 31 tyres per rider for a race weekend. An increase to 40 is currently under discussion and bosses from Michelin, Bridgestone and Dunlop met again tonight in the Estoril paddock to thrash out modifications to the rule.
Brivio said increasing the limit would not be the solution to ending the current dull racing in MotoGP, saying it was up to Michelin and Yamaha to work in tandem to develop over the winter.
"My personal opinion is that nothing should change in the tyre regulation. In this moment we have to work more, we have to test as much as we can this winter to improve our tyres and try to fight next year. There is a lot of discussion about trying to improve but we have to make sure that if we change something we are going in the right direction, otherwise its better not too change. I don't know if having a few more tyres in the allocation or having the possibility to test more will drastically change the situation. The situation might change drastically if we push much more on the development. I think we have a lot of homework to do," said Brivio, who was at pains to distance Yamaha and Rossi from rumours that both were piling pressure on Dorna to instigate a change to the current tyre rule.
"I think its better to leave everything as it and work much harder to improve our package. This is my opinion. Yamaha is not making the regulation and is not deciding anything about this. If they come up with a good solution that Michelin and Bridgestone agree then ok, but it has to be clear that its not a question that Yamaha or Valentino Rossi is asking for the rule changes, that is untrue," added Brivio.
Rossi said he agreed that the number of tyres should not increase, saying the issue at present with Michelin was 'quality and not quantity.'
MCN asked Rossi in a press debriefing this afternoon if he was happy with the decision to stick with Michelin and whether or not his preference had been to switch to Bridgestone.
He replied: "I think it will be Michelin next season." Asked by MCN if he was happy with that choice he added: "For you I am happy." Rossi confirmed that he will run the new pneumatic valve engine in Estoril, with one of his bikes running the new system when tomorrow's free practice starts. Yamaha denied to discuss specific details of the engine failure that ruled Rossi out of his home in Misano earlier this month, but confirmed it had been caused by a mechanical component failure in the bottom end. The problem has been discovered and the faulty component modified in Japan, said Brivio.