Michelin Welcomes New Tire & Testing Regulations

From a Michelin press release

Michelin has welcomed new regulations designed to maintain competitionbetween tire manufacturers in the MotoGP World Championship. The twosets ofrules, concerning tires and testing, come into effect on January 1,2007.The tire regulations, the first such restrictions to be introduced toGrandPrix motorcycle racing, were formulated following discussions betweenthethree tire manufacturers involved in MotoGP.

"We are happy with the new rules," says Nicolas Goubert, Michelin'sdirectorof motorcycle racing. "The tire agreement is a very good agreement,especially if you look at what is happening in other major motorsportchampionships, particularly in Formula One switching to a single tiremakerrule."

"The most important aspect of the new rules is that they ensure we willbeable to continue competing with other tire companies. Carmelo Ezpeleta(CEOof Dorna, the MotoGP rights holders) played a major role in this. Heaskedthe tire companies to come up with a compromise that would be acceptabletoall of us because he wanted different tire brands to continue fightingonthe racetrack. The major motorcycle manufacturers also pushed hard tokeepdifferent tire brands involved because they understand that thetechnologyderived from MotoGP can be used on streetbikes, so this agreement isalsovery good for the end-user.

"Once the objective to keep everyone involved was clear, the second mostimportant point was to ensure that we don't have too much costinflation,because costs can escalate when you have major manufacturers competingin ahighly prestigious series. In this respect, the most important factorwas toreduce the possibility of test teams to test tires. From next year testteams can only run at official IRTA tests plus one track during theseasonand one track during the off-season.

"The third point was to ensure that there wouldn't be more and moretestingfor the MotoGP teams, so Dorna has limited winter testing to sevensessions,organized by IRTA. This is good, especially for safety, because therewillbe full medical backup at these tests. During the season the onlytestingwill be done immediately after GPs, with the teams staying on to test atthesame track. This is something we suggested a few years ago and is veryefficient results-wise, safety-wise and cost-wise. It's another goodmove.All these restrictions ensure there will be more equal competitionacrossthe grid because the factory teams won't be able to test more than thenon-factory teams.

"The fourth and final point was limiting the amount of tires riders canuseduring a race weekend. The limit will be 31 tires per rider, which isn'tmuch of a reduction from what we currently use but will prevent anyincrease, especially with regard to qualifying tires. The new rulesdon'trequire all the tires we supply to be the same so we can work evenharderthan we do now at tailoring tires to suit each rider, because ridingstyleis so crucial to tire choice. Our riders will be heavily involved in theprocess of having tires tailored to their individual needs.

"As always, we will support the MotoGP series as much as we can,supplyingtires to a respectable number of teams as long as they want to keepworkingwith us. We are ready to supply up to 50 percent of the grid.

"The tire regulations take effect from the start of next year and thereisno time limit to the rules, but if the tire manufacturers decide that acertain aspect of the rules needs to be fine-tuned, we can agree tochangethem for the following year."