What is the deal with MotoGP and Michelin ?

MotoGP is the best of the best, or is it?  It’s supposed to be, but it seems like the actual motto should be.. MotoGP is the best of the best; as long as Dorna can make a buck!

Case in point, Michelin vrs Bridgestone?  The best of the best, or just subpar? Even Pirelli or Dunlop have more recent experience than Michelin. So why did Dorna choose an out of date manufacturer as a sponsor? It was free for them.

We have talked about this many times.. MotoGP is just like any sport.  Football, Baseball, Basketball, Tennis or Golf. Professional Sports are businesses.  It is always, always about money.  As fans, we love the sports for the competition, the excitement and the athletes.  However, the owners, organizers, promoters, advertisers and broadcasters are mostly concerned with revenue.  Excitement means viewers.  The closer the competition the more viewers.  The bigger the crashes, the more dramatic the race, the more bumping, rubbing and reckless behavior the more media coverage they will get and the more attention the sport gets.  The old saying.. there is no such thing as bad media coverage.  Rossi’s kick just increased interest last season, so who cares if riders get hurt, or if some riders are cast a bad lot.  The athletes and teams may be the only ones actually concerned with their performance because it seems like their individual welfare is at the mercy of those with the power to make choices for them.

Bridgestone makes the best motorcycle tires in the world.  Michelin… not so much.  Dorna refused to ease the financial burden of Bridgestone by sharing some cost, any cost… despite the repeated requests from Bridgestone for some financial contribution from Dorna and MotoGP.  However, anyone can see from a business perspective that instead of helping keep the greatest tires in the greatest championship, they choose to go with anyone who was willing to cover the complete cost, and let the riders deal with the repercussions from lack of performance.  From Dorna’s point of view it must seem a logical choice.. all the riders will have the same options, so that keeps things fair, and if overall speeds drop.. it’s not a problem.. Michelin will develop over time, as they go through their own learning curve.   Besides Dorna has been saying for the last couple of years they are trying to improve the championship by leveling the playing field; removing manufacturing ECU’s and forcing all teams to use the MM ECU, limiting development, limiting fuel, adding a satellite championship and now letting Bridgestone go.

We as fans continue to follow because we love the sport.  We understand that MotoGP is a business and that management needs to create revenue.  Hell we all have rents or mortgages to pay, children to raise and taxes, but when the quest for profit starts to undermine the sport.. we all need to stop and take a look at what is happening… at least in a general sense.

When good riders like Dovizioso and Lorenzo have tires completely shred and loose chunks of rubber so much so they can’t finish the race. the problem is bad.  At the beginning of the season I remember Scott Redding’s tire just explode.  How about Loris Baz’s close call with death in the Sepang test?  We have seen nearly half the field have a complete tire failure at some point during the season, and I am not even privy to the complete data, only what I read in the news releases.  I’m sure there are far more issues behind the scenes, because we know good and damn well that Dorna and MotoGP are very good at getting riders and teams to follow press guidelines and censorship standards.  Lets hope that the worst of it is over… and that no one gets hurt when a tire fails… because the last thing that anyone wants is a worst case scenario in which there is a death from tire failure.


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