As was first reported by MCN nearly a month ago, Bridgestone has been confirmed as the supplier for the MotoGP single tyre rule until at least the end of the 2011 campaign.
The Japanese factory was the only manufacturer to bid for the contract after a controversial single tyre rule was approved at last month’s Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi.
And despite some last-minute concerns raised by Bridgestone’s proposal to drastically slash the allocation available to riders, the deal was approved today in Malaysia.
Bridgestone had proposed the number of tyres given to each individual rider be only 20 – half the current amount. That is to be divided between a total of eight front tyres and 12 rear tyres, MCN can reveal. Both will only be available in two compounds, giving riders two sets of four fronts and two sets of six rears to pick from at each race. In total, Bridgestone will have seven compounds in circulation for 2009, but only two will be available at each race.
Several MotoGP riders had voiced concerns that the limit on 20 tyres was too restrictive, but that number has been agreed at a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in Sepang today.
Also under discussion is a significant reduction in winter testing, with a mid-November test in Qatar already axed, and the traditional first test of 2009 in January at Sepang also looking certain to be scrapped. The first test of 2009 is now expected to be in Phillip Island, Australia in early to mid-February.
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone said: “Bridgestone is pleased that we have been appointed the sole tyre supplier to the MotoGP World Championship for the next three seasons, starting from 2009.
“Although we were sorry to hear that tyre competition would not continue in MotoGP, Bridgestone appreciates the importance of safety and cost in motorsport. We respect the decision taken by FIM and Dorna to impose a one-make tyre rule for next season and acknowledge the safety and cost reasons given for their decision.
“We submitted a proposal to FIM and Dorna in order to continue competing at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, and to continue to be a part of the MotoGP community, of which we are proud to have been involved since the 2002 season.
“We have developed strong relations with manufacturers, teams, riders and personnel in the MotoGP world and are happy to be able to continue a high level of participation in the sport. Even in a single tyre situation, however, we must also guarantee and increase our return on investment from a business point of view, something that we hope to achieve through a close working relationship with all our teams and with Dorna.
“Alongside safety and cost, fairness is another pillar of Bridgestone’s involvement in motorsport and we are committed to servicing our teams fairly at all times. Having worked with all manufacturers in Moog this season, we believe that we are well placed to offer the fairest possible treatment across all teams.
“We have relished competing on a global motorcycle racing stage with our rivals over the last seven seasons and will miss the opportunity to showcase our technical capabilities against them. In this period of competition, we have improved our performance level step by step and have been immensely proud to take the world title for the last two seasons, firstly with Ducat and Casey Stoner in 2007, and this year with Fiat Yamaha and Valentino Rossi.
“Our technical department has already started looking at how best to approach the 2009 season with the desired push for improved safety in Moog at the forefront of our development plans. We must make sure that our tyres work safely and competitively at each event, bearing in mind the complexity of tyre performance at each individual circuit and, most importantly, we must ensure that our tyres offer the same performance potential across all teams.
“We have a busy winter period ahead of us in order to best prepare ourselves for the first race of the 2009 season, but on-track preparations will begin as soon as the chequered flag has fallen on this 2008 season with a post-race test in Valencia, the first opportunity we will have to work with new teams and riders.”