Is there anybody out there who would like to spend a great deal of money over several years, in return for a constant torrent of abuse from the riders?
Only tire companies need apply. Because what you have to do to earn this great racing prize is to make large quantities of highly specialized tires, many of which will be used for only a handful of miles, and some not at all.
Bridgestone’s unexpected decision to quit as MotoGP control tire supplier at the end of next season follows five-and-a-bit years of exactly that. Of course, the up side is that your tires win every race, giving opportunities for serial bragging. Although the Japanese company earned a little more scorn within the paddock when they celebrated their 200th win. It wasn’t as if they were beating anybody else.
In racing, it is given that tires take the blame, and not just for crashes. Poor rider performance, dodgy suspension settings or brakes, poor chassis integrity? Blame the tires.
Bikes and riders win races, tires lose them.
There is a way to reverse the tide. Quit. When Bridgestone announced its decision on the eve of the Spanish GP, the sea-change was notable, as riders and technicians now revealed a previously well-concealed respect and, yes, even liking for Bridgestones. They had listened to the riders, they had made great strides in both endurance and safety. Whoever will step up to take their place, opined pretty much everybody, will have an extremely hard job to get even close.
Many predicted the return of the highside, and a surge of new business for the Clinica Mobile; one Honda teamster gave the gloomy opinion that they would be obliged to design and build at least seven different chassis, then test exhaustively to find out which one will work.
To read more of this week’s In The Paddock in Cycle News, click here