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Michelin baffled by Rossi switch

Valentino Rossi

In an interview with Motosprint magazine, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber says he cannot understand why Valentino Rossi wants to race on Bridgestone tires in 2008.

"There were many changes in 2007, so many that it was almost a revolution," Weber said in an interview with Motosprint magazine. "At the beginning Ducati looked unmatchable in their performance, while Honda and Yamaha had problems. "As far as we are concerned, I think we lost a lot in the wet races, while in the dry we had problems on two tracks: Laguna Seca and Brno. So, there were problems on the bike as well as with the tires.

"In my opinion things changed at the end of the season, as far as we are concerned, but Valentino felt that the problem was just the tire, not something else. Maybe this is a good analysis, or maybe it isn't.

"For me this decision of his is difficult to understand, but that's what he's decided. It could be a good or a bad choice, we'll see in a while. For sure there are things, also psychological ones, that influence greatly a rider's performance. "But we look ahead, we must get a good performance with the riders we have." Weber also admitted Michelin feared they would have to leave the sport after Dorna proposed the introduction of control tires from 2008. The proposal was later withdrawn.

"We had been afraid we had to go," he added. "There was a moment when a strange situation was emerging: Dorna seemed resolute to go for the single tire supplier and this caused us a time of great confusion. "At Michelin we enjoy competition and so the plurality of the players; a single tire is not part of our philosophy. But there was a moment of great tension, when we started asking ourselves whether we should stay or leave. We were very worried that Ezpeleta really wanted the single tire and we didn't know what to do. "We were waiting for things to happen, to decide whether to participate in the bid or to just leave, but in the end Carmelo took the decision that in our opinion is the right one."

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