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Dunlop plans legal action over rule changes

1 January 1901

WSBK organisers FGSport look set to face a legal challenge from tyre supplier Dunlop over their plans to introduce a single brand of rubber, almost certainly made by Pirelli, next season.

The change is being made with the intention of reducing costs, but has caused outrage among existing suppliers Dunlop and Michelin.

Indeed, the tyre ruling, together with other controversial changes planned for 2004, looks likely to result in the factory teams steering clear of the once great series.

Dunlop currently supply the likes of HM Plant Ducati, NCR Ducati and Alstare Suzuki and has much to lose should it be thrown out of the series, since it produces around 15,000 tyres per year for the SBK and Supersport classes.

"We will assemble our case this week," Independent.co.uk report Dunlop's racing manager, Phil Plater, as saying. "Restrictive practices is the route we will be taking."

The paper also claims that Michelin, suppliers to the factory Ducati Fila team of Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus, will also protest to the FIM over the rule changes.

The tyre issue alone spills over to the factory teams since many have contracts to use one particular brand of tyre, which in many cases is supplied with their new production road bikes.

The likely decision to give Pirelli the one brand contract has also caused confusion, since they are currently represented only by the likes of DFX Ducati and are nowhere near the present standard of Dunlop and Michelin.


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