Michelin surprised by Honda tactic

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Underfire Michelin boss Jean-Philippe Weber has spoken of his surprise at Honda’s decision to give a factory spec machine to Shinya Nakano for the remainder of the 2008 MotoGP campaign.

Nakano raced to fourth place on the bike that is the same specification as Dani Pedrosa’s factory RC212V in last weekend’s Czech Republic GP.

While Honda are insisting Nakano is evaluating the 2009 satellite RC212V machine, some have suggested it is a ploy to find out how Pedrosa’s bike performs on Bridgestone tyres.

Michelin’s recent disastrous performances have seen them heavily criticised, with Pedrosa one of the most outspoken after he finished 15th in Brno.

Weber said had he known Honda was making a third factory available, he would have expected it to have gone to Andrea Dovizioso, who is still mounting a challenge for fourth place in the world championship.

Weber said: “We were really surprised. When we got the information that Shinya will have the factory bike we were surprised because I know that Gresini and HRC have a link for many years and they have a good relationship. But obviously based on the partnership we have, we thought the factory bike would be proposed to Andrea who shows all the time his potential. We also need a strong technical relationship with the teams in order to exchange information on tyre characteristics and this would have been a good opportunity.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt