Michelin may pull out of series

Michelin recently suffered the theft of one of its latest-technology tires during a British Superbike Championship event. Having reported it to the police, an investigation showed that this theft appeared to have been professionally carried out. In an effort to safeguard its industrial secrets, Michelin therefore has to seriously consider its involvement in competitive race series outside the MotoGP World Championship. Michelin’s Head of Motorcycle competition, Nicolas Goubert explains:

“Since what used to be the Superbike World Championship went for the one tire brand rule, we, at Michelin, started taking part in the British Superbike Championship. We did that only because we were asked by our long term racing partner Honda Racing Corporation to be there in order to get ready to prepare the Suzuka 8 Hours. We have enjoyed great success together, winning 6 out of the first 8 races of the 2005 season, being involved with a single two bike team.

Such a success can only be achieved with great bikes, great riders and of course state of the art tires. Unfortunately, during the last event at Mondello Park our Michelin truck got broken into and a single tire went missing. Would a “sneak thief" take all these risks to grab a single tire that he would probably not even know where it can be used? I don’t think so!

Is it the first time ever that a racing Michelin tire goes missing? No, unfortunately not, but it is the first time somebody has broken into one of our trucks on a paddock during a race week-end in order to steal one.

We are obviously very proud of our record in all forms of motorcycle racing and of our technological leadership. Given this sort of incident, we are obliged to seriously consider whether we can afford to participate anywhere outside the MotoGP arena with state of the art products. In the meantime, as we have always done, we will try our best to enhance our technology to make sure we keep our technological leadership in MotoGP." Michelin

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