After a six-year run as the Official Tire Supplier for MotoGP, Bridgestone will withdraw as spec tire supplier following the 2015 season. The Japanese tire manufacturer got the contract when MotoGP switched to a spec tire in 2009, following a string of seasons which saw Bridgestone become the top choices of riders on the grid. One of the most notable examples was Valentino Rossi’s mid-season switch from Michelin to Bridgestone in 2008, with Dani Pedrosa also switching to the brand soon after. More recently Bridgestone has been the source of some frustration among riders, especially during the 2013 round at Phillip Island where the tires were unable to cope with track conditions. The issue forced officials to mandate a mid-race pit-stop tire-change, which had sever title ramifications when the points leader Marc Marquez was disqualified for pitting too late and delaying his eventual championship victory. Criticism about Bridgestone’s tire performance has continued in the opening rounds of 2014, with high-profile riders such as Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa citing undue tire wear and lack of grip as contributing to performance issues. A brief PR issued by MotoGP states that “all interested tire manufacturers can request the technical specifications from Dorna’s Managing Director Javier Alonso,” but beyond that there’s no indication what company will take over the spec tire contract. Bridgestone’s full press release announcing the termination of contract is included in full below. – MotoUSA Byron Wilson
Bridgestone Tires will end its role as Official Tire Supplier for MotoGP after the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Bridgestone, the Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP™ since 2009, has agreed a one-year extension to its current tire supply contract with series promoters Dorna to supply tires for the 2015 season, after which the Japanese tire manufacturer will withdraw from the role of Official Tire Supplier.
Bridgestone entered the MotoGP™ World Championship at the dawn of the modern four-stroke era in 2002, with the objective of establishing itself as the world leader in tire development. The Japanese company’s rise to glory was characterized with quick-found success in the championship with a first pole position in its maiden year, a first podium in 2003 and a first race victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2004. From this point onward, Bridgestone’s success rapidly gained momentum with multiple victories in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, culminating in a first MotoGP™ championship title with Ducati’s Casey Stoner in 2007. A second MotoGP™ championship followed in 2008 with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, resulting in Bridgestone receiving the honor of being named the first ever Official Tire Supplier to the series in 2009, thus achieving its objective of distinguishing itself as the world’s premier motorcycle tire manufacturer.
A long and successful involvement in MotoGP™, supported by significant investment, has given Bridgestone an edge over the competition through the transition of race-proven technologies from the circuit to the road. Motorcycle riders around the globe will benefit from Bridgestone’s long and successful involvement in MotoGP™ for many years to come.
Bridgestone expresses its deepest gratitude to the riders, teams, FIM, IRTA and Dorna, as well as motorsports fans around the world, for their support over the years. Although it is planning to exit the MotoGP™ World Championship at the end of the 2015 season, Bridgestone will continue to do its best in promoting motorsport as part of its portfolio of activities.
Shu Ishibashi – Senior Vice President Chief Marketing Officer Responsible for Group Global Marketing, Bridgestone Corporation
“Since 2002 Bridgestone has invested large amounts of resources into MotoGP, to help us achieve the goal of becoming the world’s foremost tire manufacturer. During this time we have forged a strong and successful partnership with Dorna and the teams, which culminated in our company being the first ever Official Tire Supplier to the championship. MotoGP has proved to be an extremely valuable tire development platform that has helped us introduce highly advanced technologies into our range of road tires, to the benefit of consumers. The increase in our brand awareness since joining the series has also been an excellent outcome for us, and we are proud that we have been involved in a series that continues to grow in popularity year-on-year. While Bridgestone will withdraw from the MotoGP championship after 2015, we are considering other opportunities to maintain our position of as a key player for motorsports fans all around the world.”
Kyota Futami – General Manager, Global Motorsport Department, Bridgestone Corporation
“It is with some sadness that we will make our exit from MotoGP after such a prosperous participation in the sport. Yet, having achieved everything we set out to do when we entered the championship over ten years ago, including sharing in many MotoGP World Championships, our company believes it is the right time to implement an exit strategy from the series. Over the next two seasons we will continue our world-class level of support to all the teams and riders, and will keep investing heavily in our MotoGP tire development program. We will continue to push the boundaries of motorcycle tire development over the next two years to ensure that we leave the championship at the end of 2015 in the best way possible.”