Michelin explains MotoGP quit decision

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Michelin has explained why it didn’t try and win the tyre supply deal for the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

The French factory let a deadline pass without submitting a bid to win the contract, with MotoGP switching to a one-make tyre rule for next season.

Although a tender was put out by the FIM at last weekend’s Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi, it was already common knowledge that Bridgestone was the favoured supplier.

Michelin’s refusal to bid confirmed what MCN revealed earlier this month that Bridgestone would supply tyres for the single tyre rule, which was introduced on safety grounds because of concerns about the increased corner speeds of the new generation 800cc machines.

A statement released by Michelin ahead of tomorrow’s Australian GP, read: “Michelin has decided not to submit a bid to the governing body of the MotoGP world championship. At the same time, Michelin regrets not being able to contribute to the organisers’ important discussions to improve rider safety and reduce costs.

“The spirit of competition has always been central to Michelin. Motor sports at the highest level are useful because competition among several tyre manufacturers is a valuable stimulus for developing increasingly high-performance tyres that will one day equip customer vehicles. Tyres play a key role in a vehicle’s performance and can make a considerable difference.

“This competition among manufacturers helps to make racing exciting. The radial tyre, which was invented by Michelin, has been improved through racing, and the improvements have since been passed on to consumers. Michelin’s dual compound technology for motorcycle tyres was first tested in MotoGP racing and is today integrated into premium products for the brand’s customers.

“The MotoGP world championship organisers have decided to use a single tyre supplier for the coming seasons, which effectively eliminates the competitive environment that has led to so much progress. The R&D resources allocated for MotoGP racing will be redeployed to support innovation, which is at the heart of Michelin’s customer-focused strategy.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt