Bridgestone expects to stay in MotoGP

Bridgestone intends to stay in MotoGP despite its impending Formula 1 exit, but does not plan to commit to a long-term contract yet and would welcome rival suppliers

Bridgestone expects to stay in MotoGP

The Japanese tyre company has been MotoGP's sole supplier since the start of the control rubber era in 2009, and is in year two of a three-season deal. Bridgestone's motorcycle racing tyre development boss Hiroshi Yamada expects an initial one-year extension and hopes to convince the company hierarchy to commit for longer.

"Our contract expires at the end of 2011," he told Motosprint. "I've been thinking about this for a while, I'd like to negotiate at least for 2012."

When asked why Bridgestone was not looking for a longer-term arrangement, Yamaha replied: "We haven't taken a decision yet - the financial situation is still bad, but I think we'll carry on and at the moment I'm trying to convince the top management that we should stay."

Yamada added that while he understood the logic of control tyres, he would be pleased to see a renewed tyre war, and believes it would be economically feasible under the more restrictive rules introduced in recent years.

"From a sport's point of view I think it's shown its validity, because the tyre factor was too important before," he said of the control tyre rule. "It's better for the riders now.

"But personally I see sport as a confrontation, so this aspect has gone missing. I used to enjoy working to win by beating the others, while now we win by beating no one."

"Anyone who wants to participate would be welcome for me. Obviously we'd have to keep the current rules, because they allow us to keep costs under control. The supply would have to remain unchanged: 18 tyres per rider per weekend. And a limited number of tyres in winter testing. Going back to the situation we reached in 2008 would be unthinkable."

He also acknowledged that Bridgestone's departure from F1 could free up money for its MotoGP programme, but admitted he would prefer to see Bridgestone staying in both championships.

"Obviously we'd have more money to spend, because the F1 budget is very high, but in my opinion we should stay in F1 too, because our image would lose a lot otherwise," said Yamada.

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