In 2016, Dorna Sports named Michelin the sole tire provider for MotoGP’s premier class. Prior to the deal, Bridgestone exclusively supplied the top class with race rubber, and before that, individual teams/riders determined which tire brand suited their bike best. Of course, a switch to Michelin required many riders to adapt, but lap time records still fell and Marc Marquez remained at the heap.
Five years later, the tires are more important than ever. In one of the most competitive eras in MotoGP history, standardizing the tire selection helps level the playing field. For instance, in the 2021 season, audiences have witnessed the top 15 riders separated by only 8.928 seconds at the finish line of the Doha Grand Prix. More recently, six different constructors (Yamaha, Suzuki, Aprilia, Ducati, Honda and KTM) finished in the top six spots. With that level of competition between manufacturers and riders, it’s no wonder MotoGP tapped Michelin to supply tires through the 2026 season.
“We are very happy with the results we have achieved since Michelin’s return to MotoGP, and today we have, of course, extended our partnership with Dorna Sports,” proclaimed Michelin CEO Florent Ménégaux. “We are particularly proud of the technological advances made with our products, as well as the many records beaten together.”
“Being a partner of MotoGP therefore represents a precious opportunity for Michelin to engage the public through brand, tires, and innovation. For Michelin, motorsport is a laboratory that encourages the transfer of its skills and sustainable solutions for the benefit of all.”
While MotoGP racing may be hotly contended these days, some also point to tire inconsistency as a contributing factor. Following the 2021 British Grand Prix, title contenders Joan Mir and Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia both complained about receiving “bad tires”. Just one race later at the Aragon Grand Prix, the tables turned, with championship leader Fabio Quartararo hinting that inconsistent tires led to his eighth-place finish.
Despite the recent woes, Michelin and Dorna Sports continue to develop tires to suit specific track layouts, surfaces, and weather conditions. Similar to the MotoGP’s homologated ECU, Michelin tires maintain parity within the sport. We just hope that the French tire manufacturer can address recent issues and continue developing its race rubber to meet racers needs through 2026.
“We are very proud to continue our partnership with Michelin until at least 2026,” stated Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. “Michelin has been a vital partner for MotoGP since becoming the premier class tire supplier in 2016, helping us create one of the greatest epochs of competition in the history of the motorcycle Grand Prix. I am delighted that we will achieve a decade of collaboration and I hope we can continue to work together on this incredible foundation.”