Australia: Michelin wins 2004 title

Rossi Wins Michelin's 13th Consecutive Title And 322nd premier-class race victory puts French tyre brand's win rate at 96.7 per cent Michelin rider Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) secured the 2004 MotoGP World ...

Rossi Wins Michelin's 13th Consecutive Title
And 322nd premier-class race victory puts French tyre brand's win rate at 96.7 per cent

Michelin rider Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) secured the 2004 MotoGP World Championship in brilliant race-winning style at Phillip Island today, continuing the French tyre brand's unprecedented domination of motorcycling's fastest, toughest race series.

Today's title triumph gives Michelin its 13th consecutive world crown in the MotoGP/500 category and its 24th premier-class success since the company entered Grand Prix racing in the early seventies. And today's race win is the company's 322nd premier-class victory, giving Michelin an astonishing win rate of 96.7 per cent over the past ten seasons. The current 2004 World Championship standings also underline Michelin's strength in depth, Michelin-equipped riders filling all but one of the top 11 positions. And this afternoon Rossi's main title rival Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) made sure of the series runner-up spot for the second successive year.

Rossi was quick to thank Michelin for playing such a significant role in his amazing premier-class career -- the Italian genius has now won four MotoGP/500 titles in a row, all with Michelin tyres. "I have a very special relationship with Michelin," said the 25-year-old Italian, winner of eight races so far this year. "This has been an incredible season, with lap times getting faster and faster, and very much of this improvement comes from the tyres."

Michelin's superiority in biking's most technically challenging arena is built upon the relationship between its engineers and chemists and the riders, teams and factories. This interface produces winning know-how that allows the company to create high-performance tyres that also keep Michelin well ahead of the opposition on the street.

Despite determined opposition from rival brands, Michelin is still the tyre of choice for any MotoGP rider who wants tyres that will give consistently good performance throughout the season, which is why 41 of the 45 podium places so far this year have been filled by Michelin men.

"I use Michelin because if you have 10kmh less than the other guys, or five less horsepower, you can still win, but if you have worse tyres you have no chance," added Rossi. "The competition between Michelin and the other companies makes racing more interesting and for sure this battle also helps the lap times go down more quickly."

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin's competitions chief and the man who first brought the company into GPs, paid tribute to Rossi's title-winning campaign. "We already knew that Valentino is a remarkable talent, but to win the title at the first attempt with a new team and a new bike is quite amazing," he said.

"We have enjoyed this season because the extra competition from our rivals gives us a clear idea of what aspects of performance need to be improved. Tyre performance is increasingly the limiting factor in bike racing because we cannot easily increase the amount of rubber on the ground, whereas it seems that the manufacturers can increase horsepower whenever they want. This means we carry a lot on our shoulders, but we are up to it. We have been working hard to allow the riders to use more powe r more easily, and we think that our results this year show that we have been successful in that aim."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Sete Gibernau , Phillip Island