MotoGP: Michelin still hopeful on Alex Barros deal

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Michelin boss Jean Philippe Weber has revealed the French tyre brand is still in negotiation with Brazilian veteran Alex Barros about a test rider role in 2008.

While Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki have their own test teams set up with Bridgestone, Michelin lags behind with no contracted test riders.

Not only does Bridgestone have three test teams, but the likes of Olivier Jacque and Nobuatsu Aoki can still lap at a pace where they can give relevant information for tyre development.

Increasing the speed of development has become a priority for Michelin after a humbling defeat to rivals Bridgestone in 2007.

“If you want to do tests outside the MotoGP calendar you need someone like Barros who is fast and knows MotoGP bikes,” said Weber.

“If your test rider is six seconds off the pace you won’t get the right amount of stress and heat into the tyres so you won’t get good answers.

“So far we haven’t been able to make an agreement with Alex but maybe it will be possible soon.”

Alex Barros retired from racing at the end of 2007 when he lost his ride with the Madrid-based d’Antin Ducati squad and couldn’t clinch a deal in World Superbikes.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt