After supplying tires to the MotoGP World Championship since 2009, Bridgestone has announced that it will withdraw as the spec tire of the series at the end of next season, the Japanese manufacturer inking a one-year extension for 2015 but opting out of any participation beyond that.
“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,” said Shu Ishibashi, Bridgestone’s Senior Vice President Chief Marketing Officer Responsible for Group Global Marketing, Bridgestone Corporation in a release issued today. “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.”
In a separate release, Dorna – in agreement with the FIM – has announced it is calling a tender for tire manufacturers interested in becoming Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP beginning in 2016 season. The tender application starts today, May 1, and will end on May 22.
Bridgestone started in MotoGP at the beginning of the four-stroke era in 2002, earning a pole position in that very first year. In 2003 Bridgestone got its first podium and in 2004 its first Grand Prix victory – in the Brazilian GP. Then came multiple victories in 2005 and 2006 and Ducati’s Casey Stoner earned the Japanese company the MotoGP World Championship in 2007. A second MotoGP championship followed in 2008 with Valentino Rossi and in 2009 they became the first spec tire in MotoGP racing.
“It is with some sadness that we will make our exit from MotoGP after such a prosperous participation in the sport,” said Kyota Futami, Bridgestone’s General Manager, Global Motorsport Department. “Yet, having achieved everything we set out to do when we entered the championship over 10 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.”
Michelin is the likely front-runner in becoming the next spec tire for MotoGP, though Dunlop and Pirelli have also expressed interest.