Bridgestone has signed a contract to become the Official Tyre Supper for the next three seasons in MotoGP, and is hoping that the deal will cut costs and improve racing.
The Japanese tyre manufacturer, winner of the MotoGP World Championship for the past two seasons, had already been announced as 'winning' the new single tyre contract from 2009-2011 - Bridgestone was the only company to submit a proposal - with all teams and riders then successfully using its rubber during late 2008 tests.
The initial explanation for the introduction of a single tyre rule - as already present in Formula One and World Superbike - announced in late September was 'for safety and cost reasons' (the safety aspect referring to cornering speeds), although many believed it was actually to help improve the racing spectacle after two seasons of often uneven competition between Bridgestone and Michelin in MotoGP.
While the 'safety' aspect has rarely been mentioned since, the cost cutting aspect of the deal will doubtless be welcomed in the wake of the global financial crisis, and it was 'cost and competition' that Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta highlighted upon making the Bridgestone deal official.
“We're delighted to have secured Bridgestone as sole tyre supplier for all teams in the MotoGP class of the FIM World Championship for the next three years,” he said. “Bridgestone is a company with a fantastic reputation and they make an outstanding contribution to motorsport. We strongly believe that this new agreement is very positive as it will simultaneously reduce costs and increase competition in MotoGP.”
As well as being honoured by the new agreement, Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport, also emphasised the cost-saving benefits of a single tyre rule - whilst hoping for exciting racing in the years ahead.
“Becoming the 'Official Tyre Supplier to the MotoGP World Championship' is a prestigious honour for Bridgestone and we await the start of the 2009 season with great anticipation,” said Yasukawa.
“In these turbulent times of economic crisis, Bridgestone is delighted to be working positively with Dorna to make an exciting contribution to MotoGP. We are dedicated to our support of MotoGP and being chosen as the official tyre supplier shows the high regard in which we are held by the sport in which we have been involved since 2002. Our participation in MotoGP is an important element of our position as the foremost tyre supplier in motorsport.
“In supplying all MotoGP competitors we will treat manufacturers, teams and riders with fairness and to do this we can draw on our experience of supplying all of the teams in Formula One with our tyres for the past two seasons. We hope that having all riders using our tyres will mean exciting races in MotoGP for the next three seasons.” he concluded.
The opening round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship will take place at Losail, Qatar on the evening of April 12th.