Bridgestone have announced that they will not continue as MotoGP tire supplier after the 2015 season. The Japanese tire maker will continue for the remainder of this season and throughout 2015 before pulling out of MotoGP.

The move had been expected. Spanish magazine Motociclismo reported two weeks ago that Bridgestone was on the brink of withdrawing, which we covered at the time.

There had been growing dissatisfaction between the two parties over the past couple of years, with Bridgestone not feeling they were getting the exposure they needed for the 20 million euros they spend on the series, while Dorna felt that the tires were not contributing to the spectacle of racing, and were built so conservatively in terms of tire durability that they were occasionally unsafe.

At Austin, the first murmurings of the growing rift became audible. Paddock rumor held that Bridgestone, whose contract was due to expire at the end of 2014, had agreed a single year’s extension to the end of 2015 to allow other tire suppliers time to develop their tires for MotoGP.

With new technical regulations due to take effect from 2016 – all teams will use the spec ECU hardware and software from that point on – starting a new contract period from 2016 makes sense.

Who will take over as single tire supplier is as yet unknown, but that it will be a single supplier is certain. IRTA, representing the teams, is a big supporter of the single tire supplier, because of the cost savings for the private teams.

Teams have all their tires supplied for free, rather than having to pay upwards of 30,000 euros per GP for tires under open contracts. The tire contract is due to go to tender in the next three weeks, meaning the new supplier should be know within a couple of months.

The candidates to take over are obvious. Dunlop, already supplying the Moto2 and Moto3 series, would be a natural candidate for MotoGP, giving them a monopoly inside the MotoGP series.

Pirelli has experience in supplying tires to different specifications for different motorcycles in World Superbikes, one change which Dorna is likely to try to push through for the new spec tire supplier.

And Michelin is rumored to already be testing 16.5″ slick tires at various tracks around the world.

Whoever takes over as single tire supplier will face the same PR challenges that caused Bridgestone to withdraw. When racers win and everything goes well, nobody mentions the tires.

But when tire problems surface – with durabilty such as at Phillip Island last year, or Austin this year, or with cold temperatures causing crashes at some tracks – then the tire supplier receives masses of negative PR.

The single tire supply offers a great deal of advertising opportunities, but it is very much a poisoned chalice. Below is the press release announcing the change:

Bridgestone to cease MotoGP™ tire supply after 2015 season

Tokyo (May 1, 2014) – Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) today announced that it will withdraw from the role of Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP™ at the end of 2015 season.

Bridgestone has supported the world’s best riders with continuous technological innovation aimed at developing safer and better performing tires since it first entered the MotoGP™ championship in 2002. During this time, the development and supply of MotoGP™ tires have been a major boost to Bridgestone’s technical ability, and brought a number of benefits that have enhanced Bridgestone’s brand globally.

Having achieved the objectives it set out for itself in MotoGP™, Bridgestone will cease tire supply to the series at the end of 2015. Bridgestone expresses its deepest gratitude to the riders, teams and all parties concerned, as well as motorsport fans around the world, for their support over the years.

Bridgestone will spare no effort in fulfilling its role of Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP™ until the end of the 2015 season, and will ensure the same superior levels of product and support during the rest of its tenure.

As a company engaged in enhancing the mobility of society, Bridgestone will continuously take part in motorsports with its full passion and do its best to promote motorsport as part of its new portfolio of activities.

About Bridgestone Corporation:

Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.

Source: Bridgestone; Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • smiler

    It is interesting that Bridgestone feel they are not getting enough exposure and Dorna feel Bridgestone are not contributing to the spectacle of racing.
    Dorna are in completle control of both these parameters. However and yet again Dorna have failed to deliver for the suppliers outside of Spain and for all spectators.

    The only surprise is that Dorna have not announced the supplier will be replaced by a Spanish supplier. Fortunately there isn’t one.

    Certainly this year Dorna has demanded tyres that suit Honda and Repsol better than Yahamama, whilst last year promoting a rider for and on behalf of Repsol that have ensured for both supplier and spectators 2 seasons of vapid racing, where yet again the only rider able to drag the spectacle to a minimal level of excitiment has been Rossi both as rider and also now as team manager.

  • Gutterslob

    Re: Pirelli has experience in supplying tires to different specifications for different motorcycles in World Superbikes, one change which Dorna is likely to try to push through for the new spec tire supplier.

    Apologies for being excessively scrupulous here, but can you really call it a spec tyre series if they make different tyres for different bikes?

  • Jake

    I think the spec tire deal is a joke and really doesn’t change anything. The same people are at the front as when there were tire wars. As with anything some years one brand gets it better then another. But I think it’s stupid that you have to build a bike around tires instead of the other way around. So Bridgestone decides to change the profile of a tire and it works better for one bike then another how is that fair?

    Unless I’m mistaken the teams do not get these tires for free. They have to pay a set price and supposedly have access to the top riders do. To me a better option would be to have an open market so that teams can pick the tire that works best for them. How do you eliminate the Rossi specials? The same way that you do a single supplier. You have all tires homologated and distributed by Dorna, or whomever. Teams would pay the same fee or would have access to their choice of tires under the same condition that they do now.

    I understand what they are trying to do but Dorna isn’t making things better with the way they write their rules. It’s the same with the engine freeze. How is it good for the sport if a team aren’t allowed to improve their bike? It’s just silly

  • Kalle

    smiler: Drop the Spanish conspiracy stuff, it’s getting old . Dorna has no “spanish” agenda, they are a business going where the money is, with a mixed strategy of short term and long term goals, as all other businesses.

  • JW

    Kalle, thank you.

    Smiler: as for me, when I have your kind of feelings about a group or organization, I simply vote with my time and wallet. Surely there is a sport out there you can be enthusiastic about. Yes Dorna is Spanish, so what. Rossi is promoting Italian riders and if Michael Jordon were to do something big in the USA he would promote riders from within. Why is this so hard for you to overcome? Can Dorna be free to promote who and what they want?

    Despite the quirks in this sport, it still is the greatest show on earth, that is why I remain a fan.

  • L2C

    Lately, the remarks from journalists against Bridgestone have been very negative with little or no objective analysis to back up the claims. No doubt this has been very damaging to Bridgestone’s public image and self-esteem. It’s one thing for riders to complain about the performance of the tires, which is something that Bridgestone expects. Bridgestone also expects fans to complain about the tires because the fans will simply are echo whatever the riders have to say. But when journalists/bloggers complain, the commentary comes across as impartial and objective, even if it isn’t.

    Weathering a storm of bad publicity is not easy for any individual, but when the “monkey see, monkey do” behavior of the press comes across as a conscious concerted effort to derail the efforts of any particular individual, it can become impossible for the individual to recover from the damaged sustained. In the case of Bridgestone, the decision to exit the sport at the end of 2015 became their only option to limit further damage to the perception of the integrity of their brand. At least it seems that way.

    Bridgestone responded adequately to the Phillip Island mishap of 2013. With regards to the 2014 rear tires, the company seemingly responded to the loud and sustained vocal complaints of Jorge Lorenzo by planning to introduce new versions of the 2014 rears at Le Mans. But the efforts were for naught because these concessions were still not enough to stem the tide of negative coverage from click-bait starved journalists/bloggers who are willing to do just about anything to appeal to the fair-weather whims of their readers.

    As far as Bridgestone is concerned, the “poisoned chalice,” was the negative publicity against the company that was generated by journalists/bloggers covering MotoGP, and that’s all there is to it. It had nothing to do with the incredibly difficult and demanding job of supplying tires to the best riders the world has to offer. Bridgestone signed up for the job and performed well beyond anybody’s expectations.

    If the sport’s top riders are to be believed, Bridgestone’s tires were leagues better than all of the other tire manufacturers that had come before. And now this genius tire supplier is signing off at the end of 2015.

    Hope Jorge Lorenzo is happy. Bridgestones won him two championships. That’s not going to happen again. And the journalists/bloggers can share in the joy too, especially since the old farts have been longing for a return to the age of shitty tires for years now. Safety, high performance, and dependability of service are now all out the window and into the wind.

    Good luck to whoever decides to fill Bridgestone’s shoes. That’s going to be monumentally difficult to do.

  • Lewis Dawson

    Quoting Jake… “I think the spec tire deal is a joke and really doesn’t change anything… Unless I’m mistaken the teams do not get these tires for free.”

    Jake, you are mistaken. Bridgestone supplies the tires without charge, and spends over 20 million euros per year to do it. So anyone saying they wish to resume the tire wars needs to specify exactly how they plan to handle tire supply to the back half of the grid.

  • Lewis Dawson

    +1 to what Kalle said.

  • Jw

    20 million euros is a lot of bank to supply tires to Motogp. I can see some of the wisdom in this..

  • Gutterslob

    Here’s what I hope happens;
    Pirelli get the single tyre deal. They then proceed to f*ck up the 2016 season on levels never seen before. In 2017, Dorna brings back the tyre war, bringing in Michelin, Dunlop and Bridgestone (Pirelli will obviously leave as they’re chickensh*ts who don’t like competition). 2017 champion wins on Bridgestone rubber. All teams go crawling back to Bridgestone in 2018.

  • rob

    Shinko ftw

  • L2C

    @ Gutterslob

    Yep, they are all going to miss those geniuses and that hard-earned know-how something serious.

  • SBpilot

    Suzuki is cringing as this is going on.