Valentino Rossi shocked by Ducati’s Michelin talks

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Valentino Rossi has admitted he was flabbergasted when he heard that fierce MotoGP rival Casey Stoner might have made a shock switch to Michelin tyres for the 2009 campaign.

Ducati seriously discussed the prospect of ditching Bridgestone in order to avoid the implementation of a controversial single tyre rule for next season.

Aussie Stoner, who was a pivotal figure in helping transform Bridgestone from occasional winners to the dominant tyre brand in MotoGP in 2007, was consulted about the move, which sent shockwaves through the paddock recently in Japan.

It was a move that left Yamaha rival Rossi, who orchestrated his own switch to Bridgestone on the back of Stoner’s success, absolutely stunned.

He told MCN: “I was very surprised. I say ‘incredible.’ It would have been a very strange manoeuvre but also it is true that in the past Ducati changed from Michelin to Bridgestone and it helped to grow up Bridgestone and now those tyres are better.

Maybe they thought it was possible to do this another time, but I was very surprised.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt