Bridgestone have announced that they will withdraw from MotoGP at the end of the 2015 season, leaving the championship in the need to find a new tyre supplier. The Japanese company have been a part of the sport since 2002, acting as sole supplier from 2009 onwards, but today’s statement brings an end to their participation as of 2016.
After taking their first MotoGP victory courtesy of Makoto Tamada in the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, Bridgestone became a true force in an era which saw competition for tyre supremacy with Michelin and Dunlop. Together with Casey Stoner and Ducati, Bridgestone achieved their first world title in 2007, convincing Valentino Rossi to switch from Michelins for 2008 before regaining his crown.
But after over a decade of success, Bridgestone have called time on their participation and Kyota Futami, General Manager of Bridgestone Corporation’s Global Motorsport Department, believes the time is right to move on.
“It is with some sadness that we will make our exit from MotoGP after such a prosperous participation in the sport. Yet, having achieved everything we set out to do when we entered the championship over ten years ago, including sharing in many MotoGP World Championships, our company believes it is the right time to implement an exit strategy from the series. Over the next two seasons we will continue our world-class level of support to all the teams and riders, and will keep investing heavily in our MotoGP tyre development programme. We will continue to push the boundaries of motorcycle tyre development over the next two years to ensure that we leave the championship at the end of 2015 in the best way possible.”