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F1 exit to benefit Michelin's MotoGP teams?

1 January 1901

Michelin motorsport director Frédéric Henry-Biabaud has stated that the French tyre company's withdraw from Formula One, at the end of the 2006 season, will result in its massive F1 effort being redeployed in other world championships - including MotoGP.

"The investment we had set aside for F1 will be redeployed in other areas - motorcycle racing, rallying, GT events and, particularly, endurance racing, which is becoming a real showcase for new technology," he said.

Michelin has long dominated the premier-class of grand prix motorcycle racing, winning 25 of the last 30 championships, including a clean sweep of the last 14 crowns. Its race win rate over the past decade stands at around 95 per cent, despite growing opposition from Bridgestone, and it currently holds the top four positions in the 2006 riders' world championship with five rounds to go.

Although Michelin has chosen to leave F1 at the end of this season, it would have been forced to withdraw by 2008 anyway due to the introduction of a single tyre supplier rule, the contract for which has been awarded to current F1 rival Bridgestone. Michelin has long objected to such rules, which also resulted in its withdraw from the World Superbike championship, and declined to summit an offer for the single tyre F1 deal.

"Michelin's view is absolutely clear. We are not naturally or philosophically in favour of the principle of a single tyre supplier in mainstream global championships," stated Henry-Biabaud. "As Edouard Michelin used to say, 'In an arena where its motorsport products finish simultaneously first and last, there is no marketing value for Michelin'."

MotoGP currently has no plans to become a single tyre manufacturer formula.


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