Michelin the last tyre manufacturer standing in MotoGP tender

Following the announcement that Michelin will be the new exclusive tyre supplier to MotoGP, Dunlop announced it would continue to concentrate on its current supply partnerships: “MotoGP continues to be a very strong global event and we are proud of our long-standing relationship with the MotoGP organizers through our continued supply to the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships. Dunlop is in the fortunate position of having many strong partnerships with motorcycle manufacturers and leading championships around the world. We have taken the decision to focus on developing and supplying tyres for these important partners for the immediate future,” stated Sanjay Khanna, managing director, Dunlop Motorsport and Motorcycle EMEA.

Khanna also mentioned Dunlop’s commitment to series including tyre competition, something that Michelin itself has often cited as an important aspect of its motorsport participation.

“We believe our performance in events where there is open-competition between tyre manufacturers, such as Road Racing and the FIM Endurance World Championship, proves that Dunlop has the capability to win races at the top-level of motorcycle racing,” Khanna said. “However, with such a diverse range of racing activities already planned for 2015 and beyond, we have chosen not to tender to be the Official MotoGP supplier on this occasion. We do not rule it out as an opportunity in the future.” In the FIM Endurance World Championship, Dunlop-shod teams have won 8 of the last 10 championships.

Pirelli’s Matteo Giusti, racing and product communication manager, confirmed that Pirelli was considering a bid for MotoGP in early May: “We are making our evaluations even because we are already involved in Formula 1 as well as in WSBK as sole suppliers,” he told BSN.

However, motorsport director Paul Hembery later said that Pirelli’s commitment to WSBK made a run at MotoGP unlikely. “We’re heavily involved with superbikes and the promoter is the same, so we are bound to have been in discussions, but there’s no plan at the moment to do anything,” he commented at the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix.

Taking up the MotoGP exclusive supply deal represents something of a u-turn on Michelin’s frequently stated preference for competition between tyre suppliers, demonstrated in activities such as the FIA World Rally Championship and various endurance racing series. MotoGP will remain an exclusively supplied series when the company takes control. Given that Michelin appears to have been the last tyre supplier standing, could it be that Bibendum has landed something of a bargain?

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