HRC fears MotoGP development costs will soar with tyre switch

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Honda fears a switch to Michelin as the new official tyre supplier in MotoGP for 2016 will send its development costs rocketing.

All the major factories are facing a costly and complex task to adapt their machinery to a new supplier in 2016 after Bridgestone decided to quit MotoGP at the end of next season.

HRC has experience of the expense and time involved in developing a bike to suit the tyres after it ditched Michelin in 2008 to join Bridgestone.

Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto fears an exhaustive and expensive transition is lying in wait, with Michelin taking over from Bridgestone in 2016.

Honda is to commence testing of the new Michelin tyres in Japan at the end of the month and Nakamoto told MCN: “We spent a lot of time to understand the Bridgestone tyres and tried many frames, swingarms and geometry options to understand the tyre. So to change tyres means we will again have to test all these areas and this is a big job and it needs a big budget. We are still learning about the Bridgestone tyre, especially if the construction changes. I think we understand 80% of the Bridgestone tyre performance. At 70% understanding I think we can be competitive with Yamaha, but if it is only 50% we can’t beat Yamaha and the results we are getting now would change, even though Marc (Marquez) is a very good rider. If we can understand 70% of the new tyre for 2016 we will be happy." 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt