ERJ staff report (TP)
Tokyo – Bridgestone has announced it will cease to be MotoGP's official tire supplier at the end of 2015, reported Crash.Net.
A statement from the Japanese company, which became MotoGP's first control tire supplier in 2009 after dominating the final two seasons of open tire competition against former class favourite Michelin, said:
"Bridgestone has supported the world's best riders with continuous technological innovation aimed at developing safer and better performing tires since it first entered the MotoGP championship in 2002.
"During this time, the development and supply of MotoGP tires have been a major boost to Bridgestone's technical ability, and brought a number of benefits that have enhanced Bridgestone's brand globally.
"Having achieved the objectives it set out for itself in MotoGP, Bridgestone will cease tire supply to the series at the end of 2015.
"As a company engaged in enhancing the mobility of society, Bridgestone will continuously take part in motorsports with its full passion and do its best to promote motorsport as part of its new portfolio of activities."
Being an exclusive tire supplier is often a thankless role and Bridgestone has faced plenty of criticism from riders over issues such as tire warm-up characteristics, the direction of its tire development and a lack of genuine rubber choices.
However the lowest point came at Phillip Island last year when, caught out by larger than expected tire stresses on the new asphalt, a compulsory mid-race bike swap was needed in order to complete the race distance.
The single tire era began with riders choosing between two different front and rear slick compounds at each event, but riders often instantly ruled out the harder rear. Bridgestone expanded its supply with a different (softer) rear for the CRT/Open class from 2012 and, from last weekend in Argentina, will offer the choice of three front tires.
Dunlop, the exclusive tire supplier for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, plus Michelin – which won 26 premier-class world crowns from 1976-2008 – and current F1/WSBK/BSB tire supplier Pirelli are among the likely candidates to take over the MotoGP tire role.
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