Michelin "Surprised" At Factory RC212V For Nakano

When HRC announced that they were to give the factory RC212V to a satellite team to test, very few people were surprised. Well behind in the points race, Dani Pedrosa needs all the help he can get . What did surprise almost everyone, however, was the fact that the bike was given not to Andrea Dovizioso, the rookie who has been most impressive on the satellite bike, and leads the satellite Hondas in the championship table, but Gresini Honda's Shinya Nakano.

Nakano has been mostly anonymous so far this year, riding around in the middle of the pack for the most part. The decision seemed at the very least, a little strange. HRC themselves stated that Nakano had been given the bike because he was Japanese, and he would be able to communicate with HRC's engineers in their native language.

Cynics and conspiracy theorists had another explanation. Pointing to Nakano's Bridgestone tires, they said it was a sign that the official Repsol Honda factory team is preparing a switch to Bridgestones for next year, after two years of problems with their current tire suppliers, Michelin. After all, the cynics said, both Dovizioso and the HRC engineers speak excellent English, and are used to working with riders for whom English is not their first language.

But it's not just the cynics and conspiracy theorists who were surprised. In a story over on Motorcycle News, Michelin's head of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber publicly expressed his surprise at Honda's decision. Despite Gresini's strong relationship with the factory, Weber had expected Dovizioso to be given the bike. "Based on the partnership we have, we thought the factory bike would be proposed to Andrea," Weber said.

This looks like Weber trying to preempt any move by Honda to Bridgestone. "We also need a strong technical relationship with the teams in order to exchange information on tyre characteristics," Weber was quoted as saying. Michelin has always said that they need to have a factory team on their tires for it to be worth their while staying in MotoGP. With Pedrosa a very strong probability to demand a switch to Japanese rubber, Michelin's time in the premier series could well be drawing to an end.

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"With Pedrosa a very strong probability to demand a switch to Japanese rubber, Michelin's time in the premier series could well be drawing to an end."

And this is the official/unofficial control tyre that many have been wanting.

No Dunlop, no Michelin, only Bridgestone. MMMMMmmmmmm.

If it looks like a duck, if it waddles like a duck, if it quacks like a duck....it must be....a control tyre.



It's even MORE surprising to me that Weber didn't understand what HRC were doing. It's not like Michelin didn't know they needed to shape up. Trust was broken and consequences were inevitable, even I can understand that one.

Michelin must know they are doomed...unless, just maybe, unless they can come up witha BIG step forwrd from Misano onwards. After all they have lost Rossi to give them input and he has been proven right.

"Cynics and conspiracy theorists" - that's me!

Dani Pedrosa is HRC's golden child. If he demands Bridgestones, then it's pretty much settled. Even if Michelin come up with a big step, they're just too inconsistent. They can't survive without their unfair advantage of producing tyres mid-meeting.

Maybe Honda wanted to get more input for bike development but didn't want to take a chance that the Repsol riders would be beaten.  Dovizioso has been very close and sometimes better with lesser equipment.

But I heard race comentators state that it's very likely that bridgestone do not want to be the sole tyre supplier because they'd be competing against themselves.