Today’s race in Valencia, the last round of the 2008 MotoGP world championship, was also the last time we’ll be seeing Michelin in action in MotoGP. With the single-tyre-supplier rule coming into effect from 2009, Michelin chose not to try and stay on in MotoGP, and next year, all riders will be racing on Bridgestone rubber.
Michelin has been an iconic brand in the world of motorcycle racing, and to mark its departure from MotoGP, the French company released the following statement: ‘The spirit of competition has always been at the heart of Michelin. Racing has been a part of the company history, and the company has been a part of racing history. MotoGP now becomes a one-make tyre championship, and Michelin is leaving MotoGP because there is no longer competition in the area of tyres.’
‘After 36 years of MotoGP World Championship racing, Michelin would like to thank all the teams and pilots who put their trust in the Group during this period. Prior to the last MotoGP event in Valencia this coming weekend, 42 pilots won at least one race riding on Michelin tyres, giving the brand 360 victories in premier class racing.’
‘In 1973, Jack Findlay became the first pilot to lead Michelin to a premier class Grand Prix victory during the Isle of Man TT races. He was also the first to test Michelin's slick technology. It was then on Michelin slick tires that Barry Sheene won his first Grand Prix 500 title in 1976.’
‘In 1984, Randy Mamola brought Michelin's radial technology, mounted on both front and rear tyres, home to victory. “I am happy to have contributed to making this new radial technology a reality as all motorbike riders today can benefit from it,’ says Mamola.”’
‘Michelin’s silica technology was developed and registered its first success with Mick Doohan on a rainy March 29th in 1992 at the Suzuka event in Japan. Throughout the 1994 season, our dual-rubber technology triumphed thanks to Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz, Luca Cadalora and John Kocinski.’
‘Starting in 2002, Michelin's chemists introduced new synthetic rubber compounds, enabling Valentino Rossi to climb to the highest step of the podium. As a matter of fact, all 2002 victories were won on tyres incorporating these revolutionary synthetic components.’
‘Over the past 36 years, the Michelin brand was World Champion 26 times. Michelin wants to express its warmest thanks to all those who contributed to this success.’
‘As Michelin's competitive spirit is ingrained into its DNA and racing is a better way forward in the service of customers, the brand calls its motorbike supporters to forge ahead and meet up once again for new motor sports adventures in 2009 and beyond…’
Hmmm… Michelin having to leave MotoGP is indeed a sad thing. And yes, they might have a point there about the competition bit. We’re sure that competition between Bridgestone, Michelin and Dunlop, on the racing circuit, would have ultimately resulted in better tyres for streetbikes. Well, all we can do is hope someday Michelin can make a comeback to MotoGP. In the meanwhile, here’s wishing Michelin all the best for everything…
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