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Motorcycle tyre suppliers to discuss MotoGP rules

02.09.2007

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta is to chair a meeting at Misano this afternoon between the three tyre suppliers in MotoGP to hear thoughts and comments about the 2007-introduced tyre restriction rule.

Tyre manufacturers Michelin, Bridgestone and Dunlop this year are restricted to 31 tyres for each rider at each race, but many feel that after five years of 990cc regulations, this first year with the 800cc formula has seen races 'not so close and with less spectacle' as before.

Casey Stoner and his Bridgestone-shod Ducati are the run away leaders of the MotoGP championship this season with a 60-point lead with six races remaining and 150 points still in play. Second in the title chase are Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, both on Michelin tyres.

"We can't go on like this," Ezpeleta was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The tyre manufacturers made this agreement, so they must find the solution. Either they find a new agreement themselves, otherwise I'll find it for them.

"Our distinctive mark is the spectacle on the track, which has been lacking in the last races.

"Bridgestone can't refuse to find a deal, otherwise Michelin will leave and the Japanese would be left all alone. That's not something they want."

There is a paddock ground swell from Michelin teams of late, complaining the rule is not fair, citing a lack of spectacle in the racing at the last three MotoGP races, even though Michelin had the upper hand at Germany with Dani Pedrosa winning. The balance of wins this season is Bridgestone's eight, to Michelin's four.

A senior team member at Ducati said, "Why should we be penalised for winning?" while it is understood that if Repsol Honda and Fiat Yamaha shift from Michelin to Bridgestone, then Michelin may well pull out of the championship after winning every 500cc/MotoGP title since 1994 to date.

Bridgestone confirmed the company wants its rivals to stay in MotoGP, but senior management would not comment on whether Yahama will use Bridgestone next season.

"We don't want Michelin to leave: we don't like the idea of a sole supplier," Hiroshi Yamada, Bridgestone's MotoGP tyre chief, told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We don't have signed contracts but we want to keep the current teams. We can't and don't want to supply more than the ten riders we have now."

Michelin's director of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber confirmed his company's will to stay on next year.

"For us too, contracts get signed later on in the season, but we are convinced to keep the current teams. Maybe we'll have a few more riders, however," Weber was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Michelin boss also elaborated on the changes he would like to see to the tyre regulations for next year.

"Just some small modifications to the current rules, maybe by slightly increasing the total number of tyres or just the number of rears, allowing testing on the tracks where the race has already been held and organizing tests on the new tracks and on the one fully resurfaced, to avoid making decisions in the dark," said Weber.

Weber further commented on how Michelin is planning to improve next year.

"Our working method hasn't worked. We've already started thinking about 2008 by planning a bigger effort with a bigger budget.

"We must improve our method and gather more data to be transformed into input for our products. Something about that can already be seen with the start up of the Yamaha test team and with the amount of technicians we fielded in the Brno tests."