Michelin to Replace Bridgestone as Exclusive MotoGP Tyre Provider from 2016 – Rivals Have Their Say
Come 2016, and Michelin will exclusively supply its competitive radials to the MotoGP championship. Dunlop explains why it didn’t submit a formal tender.
The French tyre giant, Michelin, is all set to replace Bridgestone as tyre supplier to the popular MotoGP beginning 2016. The former bagged the official tender that Dorna, in concurrence with FIM, announced as open in May 2014.
In a statement outlining the tender procedure, Dorna stated that interested tyre makers had been given an opportunity to request technical radial specifications from MD, Javier Alonso. Three potential suppliers had expressed interest initially, following which Michelin was the only company to apply via a formal tender before the deadline of 22nd May.
The MotoGP organisers further said that Dorna and the tyre maker will soon draw out a formal commercial agreement, since Michelin has already established technical competence needed to meet the requirements of a challenging grand prix schedule.
Michelin – The ‘Ultimate’ in MotoGP Tender
Soon after the announcement of Michelin being the next exclusive MotoGP radial provider, announcements were made by rival manufacturers.
Dunlop proclaimed that it would continue focusing on its existing supply partnerships. Sanjay Khanna, Dunlop MD, Motorsport and Motorcycle division EMEA, expressed his view on their relationship with MotoGP event organisers. He said that MotoGP has maintained its stance as a strong global event. And that Dunlop is proud of its long-standing association with series organisers through their continued tyre supply to popular racing events like FIM Moto2 as well as Moto3 World Championships.
Khanna added that Dunlop is fortunately positioned, thanks to its several strong partnerships with leading championships and motorcycle producers across the world. He stated that for the near future, their company has decided to concentrate on developing and providing tyres for its strategic partners
He also mentioned about Dunlop’s unswerving commitment to maintain the true spirit of tyre competition in the series. Incidentally, this is something that Michelin has time and again cited as a significant aspect of its participation in motorsport.
Khanna, further said that their performance in events fostering open competition amongst tyre manufacturers, like FIM Endurance and Road Racing, proves its global competitiveness. It shows Dunlop’s real capability as an ace performer in top-level motorcycle racing. He added that with a variety of racing activities that Dunlop has already planned for next year and beyond, it had chosen not to tender for the position of an official supplier for MotoGP at this time. They, however, do not rule the same out as a prospective possibility.
Racing and product communication chief at Pirelli, Matteo Gusti, confirmed that they had been seriously considering submitting a tender for MotoGP in the beginning of May. He also spoke about Pirelli’s existing involvement with F1 and WSBK as exclusive suppliers. WSBK and MotoGP incidentally are promoted by the same company. However, Paul Hembery of Pirelli had stated earlier that they do not plan an association with MotoGP at the moment, despite their involvement with superbikes, and despite the promoter of both the events being the same.
Michelin’s taking up of the role of a sole tyre supplier to MotoGP represents sort of a u-turn on the manufacturer’s preference for open competition between radial suppliers. Its undeniable performance and fiercely competitive spirit are believed to take Michelin a long way in its forthcoming association with MotoGP.