Suzuki and Michelin Moto Together

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Following on the heels of its most successful season todate in U.S. off-road competition, Michelin North America is pleased toannounce the addition of American Suzuki to its stable of racing partners.

The Suzuki team, under the management of motocross legend Roger DeCoster,has long been a powerhouse in AMA motocross, most recently winning the 2000125cc National MX Championship with rookie sensation Travis Pastrana....

"We're elated that both Suzuki and KTM, two of the premier factory teams inAmerican racing, have chosen Michelin for 2001," said Randy Richardson,manager of motorcycle competition for Michelin North America. In fact,Richardson noted, DeCoster's interest in partnering with Michelin for 2001grew out of the tiremaker's reputation for product superiority, as evidencedby Michelin's successful 2000 campaign with Team KTM. Last season, KTM andMichelin posted their maiden victory in AMA outdoor national MX competition,in addition to winning the Grand National Cross Country and National Enduroseries titles.

"Michelin has won world championships in virtually every form of wheeledcompetition," Richardson pointed out, citing Grand Prix motorcycling,superbikes, motocross, supercross, enduro, motorcycle trials, Formula 1,automobile endurance racing including Le Mans, touring cars, rallying,desert racing, and road and mountain bike racing including the Tour deFrance.

As well as 17-year-old phenom Pastrana, the Suzuki squad also boaststwo-time former 125 Supercross champ Kevin Windham, who finished in the topfour of both the AMA 250 Supercross and National Motocross points in 2000.Rounding out the team are Danny Smith, Frenchman Rodrig Thain, andup-and-coming pro Ben Riddle, winner of two amateur national MXchampionships last season.

Michelin has high hopes for a banner 2001 with both Suzuki and Team KTM.The KTM contingent has been bolstered by the addition of reigning 125 worldMX champion Grant Langston of South Africa, teamed with Brock Sellards,David Pingree and Kelly Smith. "Both teams have a stellar lineup ofchampions and race winners," Richardson commented. "So the they're lookingto Michelin to provide tires that perform at the level these riders demand.We're up to that challenge."

KTM and Suzuki will compete on tires based on the StarCross MH2 andStarCross MS2 tread designs introduced to the U.S. market in 2000. TheStarCross series already has a world-class pedigree, having equipped the1999 World Supercross Champion. "Developing technology in competition,"Richardson said, "is the focus of Michelin's racing activities around theworld. So the expansion of our U.S. motocross involvement is a logicalextension of what we've already done with StarCross: using racing to makebetter tires for our customers."

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