Pedrosa to switch to Bridgestones

Dani Pedrosa is to make a shock mid-season switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres, starting at the forthcoming Indianapolis Grand Prix

Pedrosa to switch to Bridgestones

Speculation about a possible change mounted at Misano this weekend, and Michelin has now confirmed that it has agreed for Pedrosa to switch to its arch-rival's rubber with immediate effect.

"Despite making an excellent start to the season and leading the world championship going into the German GP, during the last few races Dani Pedrosa has made it know to both Michelin and Honda that he doesn't feel at ease with the tyres that Michelin have offered him," said a Michelin statement.

"Honda and Michelin believe that rider confidence needs to be at its maximum if the rider is to fully exploit the tactical potential of the tyres.

"In these circumstances Michelin and Honda have therefore decided not to equip Pedrosa with Michelin tyres for the remainder of the 2008 season."

Michelin has come under heavy criticism in recent months, as its riders fell behind their Bridgestone-shod rivals, particularly from the Laguna Seca race onwards. At Brno a fortnight ago the Michelins' practice and qualifying performance was so bad that a rider boycott was a genuine possibility.

The French tyres showed better form at Misano this weekend, with Jorge Lorenzo and Pedrosa taking second and fourth, but that improvement was not sufficient to keep Pedrosa on Michelins for the rest of the year.

"I thank Michelin and Honda for their mutual understanding and for agreeing to my personal demands," said the Spanish rider.

"I am very conscious of the fact that I have made some excessively negative comments about Michelin tyres, even though Michelin helped me make an exceptional start to the season."

Michelin has supplied Honda's motorcycle teams with tyres for 24 years, with the two companies winning 14 world championships together.

Honda's decision to give Bridgestone runner Shinya Nakano and the satellite Gresini team a full 2008 specification bike was already widely seen as testing the water for a full Bridgestone switch, especially after the Japanese rider beat the other Hondas at Brno.

Pedrosa's move means that just six of the 18 MotoGP regulars will use Michelin tyres in the remaining 2008 races. Current championship leader Valentino Rossi had already persuaded Yamaha to let him swap to Bridgestones for this season after he struggled to beat Casey Stoner's Bridgestone-shod Ducati last season.

Michelin's problems have led to renewed speculation that MotoGP could implement control tyres next season to avoid performance disparities of the kind seen at Brno, but Michelin has reiterated its long-held opposition to any such move.

"Both Honda and Michelin hope that MotoGP World Championship will continue with a multi-tyre brand regulation in 2009," said its statement.

Pedrosa's teammate Nicky Hayden will remain on Michelin tyres for the rest of the year.

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