Malaysian GP - Rossi to make Bridgestone switch
Eurosport - Fri, 19 Oct 12:25:00 2007
Valentino Rossi will use Bridgestone tyres on his Yamaha next year, according to Michelin's Moto GP tyre chief.
Jean-Philippe Weber, the French manufacturer's competitions director said that pressure from the five-time world champion to switch to Bridgestone rubber next season in a bid to close the performance gap to Casey Stoner and Ducati, had finally paid off.
"He [Rossi] has said he must switch to Bridgestones and you can't go against the desire of the riders, so we cannot remain with him," said Weber.
Rossi, and Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, Moto GP's biggest stars, have been campaigning since mid-season to get their teams to switch to Bridgestones for 2008.
Although Bridgestone initially issued a firm "no" to both squads following requests for a switch, it is believed that pressure from championship bosses Dorna to switch to a single-tyre rule in 2008 unless they gave way, has led to the move.
Officially, nothing has been confirmed, but Dorna have said that a decision on whether or not a single-tyre formula will be adopted next season, will be announced next week.
With only Bridgestone even willing to consider bidding for the contract, should one come up, Rossi's move will not affect what rubber he uses.
Rossi was only 16th fastest in practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, and knew instantly where the blame lay.
It's very disappointing for me to be here, at one of my favourite tracks where we know our bike goes well, in 16th position! We don't have any grip, especially in front, and we were very slow today.
"We've tried a lot of tyres and different settings but so far we haven't been able to make much progress."
Rossi's switch will create a unique situation within the Yamaha squad as his new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo will use Michelin rubber, a move which will almost certainly upset the development of their 2008 motorcycle.
The Tech-3 Yamahas of James Toseland and Colin Edwards will also use the French rubber, switching from the current British-made Dunlops.
Whether or not Pedrosa will also switch is yet to be decided.