Michelin Welcomes New Tire Rules in MotoGP.

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff
From Michelin:

Michelin has welcomed new regulations designed to maintain competitionbetween tire manufacturers in the MotoGP World Championship. The two sets ofrules, concerning tires and testing, come into effect on January 1, 2007.The tire regulations, the first such restrictions to be introduced to GrandPrix motorcycle racing, were formulated following discussions between thethree tire manufacturers involved in MotoGP.

"We are happy with the new rules," says Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's directorof motorcycle racing. "The tire agreement is a very good agreement,especially if you look at what is happening in other major motorsportchampionships, particularly in Formula One switching to a single tire makerrule."

"The most important aspect of the new rules is that they ensure we will beable to continue competing with other tire companies. Carmelo Ezpeleta (CEOof Dorna, the MotoGP rights holders) played a major role in this. He askedthe tire companies to come up with a compromise that would be acceptable toall of us because he wanted different tire brands to continue fighting onthe racetrack. The major motorcycle manufacturers also pushed hard to keepdifferent tire brands involved because they understand that the technologyderived from MotoGP can be used on streetbikes, so this agreement is alsovery good for the end-user.

"Once the objective to keep everyone involved was clear, the second mostimportant point was to ensure that we don't have too much cost inflation,because costs can escalate when you have major manufacturers competing in ahighly prestigious series. In this respect, the most important factor was toreduce the possibility of test teams to test tires. From next year testteams can only run at official IRTA tests plus one track during the seasonand one track during the off-season.

"The third point was to ensure that there wouldn't be more and more testingfor the MotoGP teams, so Dorna has limited winter testing to seven sessions,organized by IRTA. This is good, especially for safety, because there willbe full medical backup at these tests. During the season the only testingwill be done immediately after GPs, with the teams staying on to test at thesame track. This is something we suggested a few years ago and is veryefficient results-wise, safety-wise and cost-wise. It's another good move.All these restrictions ensure there will be more equal competition acrossthe grid because the factory teams won't be able to test more than thenon-factory teams.

"The fourth and final point was limiting the amount of tires riders can useduring a race weekend. The limit will be 31 tires per rider, which isn'tmuch of a reduction from what we currently use but will prevent anyincrease, especially with regard to qualifying tires. The new rules don'trequire all the tires we supply to be the same so we can work even harderthan we do now at tailoring tires to suit each rider, because riding styleis so crucial to tire choice. Our riders will be heavily involved in theprocess of having tires tailored to their individual needs.

"As always, we will support the MotoGP series as much as we can, supplyingtires to a respectable number of teams as long as they want to keep workingwith us. We are ready to supply up to 50 percent of the grid.

"The tire regulations take effect from the start of next year and there isno time limit to the rules, but if the tire manufacturers decide that acertain aspect of the rules needs to be fine-tuned, we can agree to changethem for the following year."

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