MICHELIN WELCOMES NEW TYRE & TESTING REGULATIONS Michelin has welcomed new regulations designed to maintain competition between tyre manufacturers in the MotoGP World Championship. The two sets of rules, concerning tyres and testing, come into...
MICHELIN WELCOMES NEW TYRE & TESTING REGULATIONS
Michelin has welcomed new regulations designed to maintain competition between tyre manufacturers in the MotoGP World Championship. The two sets of rules, concerning tyres and testing, come into effect on January 1 2007. The tyre regulations, the first such restrictions to be introduced to Grand Prix motorcycle racing, were formulated following discussions between the three tyre manufacturers involved in MotoGP.
"We are happy with the new rules," says Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "The tyre agreement is a very good agreement, especially if you look at what is happening in other major motorsport championships, particularly in Formula One switching to a single tyre maker rule."
"The most important aspect of the new rules is that they ensure we will be able to continue competing with other tyre companies. Carmelo Ezpeleta (CEO of Dorna, the MotoGP rights holders) played a major role in this, he asked the tyre companies to come up with a compromise that would be acceptable to all of us because he wanted different tyre brands to continue fighting on the racetrack. The major motorcycle manufacturers also pushed hard to keep different tyre brands involved because they understand that the technology derived from MotoGP can be used on streetbikes, so this agreement is also very good for the end-user.
"Once the objective to keep everyone involved was clear, the second most important point was to ensure that we don't have too much cost inflation, because costs can escalate when you have major manufacturers competing in a highly prestigious series. In this respect, the most important factor was to reduce the possibility of test teams to test tyres. From next year test teams can only run at official IRTA tests plus one track during the season and one track during the off-season.
"The third point was to ensure that there wouldn't be more and more testing for the MotoGP teams, so Dorna has limited winter testing to seven sessions, organised by IRTA. This is good, especially for safety, because there will be full medical back-up at these tests. During the season the only testing will be done immediately after GPs, with the teams staying on to test at the same track. This is something we suggested a few years ago and is very efficient results-wise, safety-wise and cost-wise. It's another good move. All these restrictions ensure there will be more equal competition across the grid because the factory teams won't be able to test more than the non-factory teams.
"The fourth and final point was limiting the amount of tyres riders can use during a race weekend. The limit will be 31 tyres per rider, which isn't much of a reduction from what we currently use but will prevent any increase, especially with regard to qualifying tyres. The new rules don't require all the tyres we supply to be the same so we can work even harder than we do now at tailoring tyres to suit each rider, because riding style is so crucial to tyre choice. Our riders will be heavily involved in the process of having tyres tailored to their individual needs.
"As always, we will support the MotoGP series as much as we can, supplying tyres to a respectable number of teams as long as they want to keep working with us. We are ready to supply up to 50 per cent of the grid.
"The tyre regulations take effect from the start of next year and there is no time limit to the rules, but if the tyre manufacturers decide that a certain aspect of the rules needs to be fine-tuned, we can agree to change them for the following year."
Michelin has scored more than 350 victories in premier-class motorcycling racing since 1973 and has won 25 500/MotoGP World Championships over the past 30 years, including a clean sweep of the last 14 titles. During the past decade the French company has enjoyed a race win rate of almost 95 per cent.