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Bridgestone withdrawing from MotoGP after '15 season

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Bridgestone Corp. photo Bridgestone uses the "Battleax" name for its competition motorcycle tires.

OKYO (May 1, 2014) — Bridgestone Corp., the official race tire supplier to the MotoGP world motorcycle championships since 2009, intends to withdraw from that sporting engagement after the 2015 season.

The decision will end a 13-year run of being active in MotoGP for Bridgestone. The Tokyo-based tire maker entered the MotoGP World Championship  as a tire supplier, hoping to establish the brand’s reputation among motorcycle owners worldwide. It became the sole race tire supplier to the series’ top class in 2009.

“Since 2002 Bridgestone has invested large amounts of resources into MotoGP, to help us achieve the goal of becoming the world’s foremost tire manufacturer,” said Shu Ishibashi, senior vice president, chief marketing officer responsible for global marketing.

“MotoGP has proved to be an extremely valuable tire development platform that has helped us introduce highly advanced technologies into our range of road tires, to the benefit of consumers. The increase in our brand awareness since joining the series has also been an excellent outcome for us, and we are proud that we have been involved in a series that continues to grow in popularity year-on-year.”

Mr. Ishibashi said Bridgestone will consider “other opportunities to maintain our position of as a key player for motorsports fans all around the world.”

Kyota Futami, general manager, global motorsport department, said Bridgestone is exiting this form of competition “having achieved everything we set out to do when we entered the championship over 10 years ago.

Bridgestone’s participation next year represents a one-year extension of its contract with Dorna Sports S.L., the series’ organizer.

“…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 tire development program…to ensure that we leave the championship at the end of 2015 in the best way possible.”

Bridgestone-shod riders won the MotoGP’s top class world championship in 2007 and 2008 against other competition before being named the official tire supplier.

MotoGP is considered the premier motorcycle racing world championship, sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme since 1949. It comprises 18 races in 13 countries on four continents.

The series this year is contested by teams using motorcycles from three manufacturers:  Ducati, Yamaha and Honda. Originally intended for machines with 500cc engines, the championship opened up to four-stroke machinery in 2002 up to 990cc and morphed into the MotoGP.

From 2007 engine capacity was limited to 800cc and then changed in 2012 to 1,000cc.

The other world championship classes are Moto3 for 250cc bikes and Moto2 for 600cc bikes. Dunlop Motorsports is the sole tire supplier for Moto2 and Moto3.

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