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Bridgestone riders comment on 2008 competition

Bridgestone riders comment on 2008 competition

At the recent presentation of Bridgestone´s 2008 World Championship project caught up with a quartet of riders using the firm´s rubber, getting their individual views on their working relationships with the Japanese tyre suppliers.

The new season has brought with it a renewed set of challenges for tyre suppliers Bridgestone in MotoGP, after their unprecedented success last year, but with their expanded portfolio of talented riders they are well-equipped to meet their goals.

Having first become involved in the 125cc World Championship in 1991, Bridgestone are now in their sixth year of premier class participation - after moving into the top category in 2002.

The 2007 campaign saw Bridgestone supply tyres for 12 MotoGP race wins – compared with four victories in 2006 - and for the first time a rider on their compounds, Casey Stoner, won the World Championship.

They have an larger portfolio of 11 riders this season, including five-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, and are providing rubber for all five manufacturers on the MotoGP grid.

Meanwhile, their rivals Michelin have started the new campaign with redoubled efforts following Bridgestone´s 2007 success, making for an increasingly intriguing battle between the two tyre giants.

Speaking to at round three in Portugal, four riders who clearly enjoy competing on Bridgestones revealed their specific reasons for favouring the Japanese firm, with the experienced Loris Capirossi the first to offer his plaudits.

In 2005 Capirossi took his first Bridgestone victories with Ducati in the first year of the collaboration between the suppliers and the Italian manufacturers and he is still a big fan. `I have been working with them for many years,´ said the 35 year-old Rizla Suzuki competitor, `and the collaboration is really good. I think it´s getting better and better.´

`I´ve seen the tyre development over the years. We weren´t on top at first and now for sure we are up there, but we have to keep going like that and you can tell that Bridgestone put in a lot of effort in MotoGP.´

John Hopkins earned his first MotoGP podiums last year on Bridgestone rubber before leaving Suzuki, but continues with the firm in 2008 with Kawasaki, insisting that staying on the same tyres was a big factor in his choice of new team.

`Bridgestone are what make me go round and I wouldn´t have come to a team that didn´t have Bridgestone tyres,´ stated Hopkins. `I believe strongly in their development and I believe strongly in their performance.´

Hopkins´ former team-mate and the current colleague of Capirossi in the Rizla Suzuki pit-box, Chris Vermeulen, added his views on the material Bridgestone provide, commenting, `They are the only thing that sticks us to the ground and without that, without the confidence, there is nothing there.´

`It´s my third year in MotoGP and all three years I´ve been with Bridgestone so I feel part of the company and I really enjoy working with them. They really respect everything I do and I really respect working with them.´

Shinya Nakano, one of only two Honda riders to use Bridgestones in MotoGP, alongside new colleague Alex de Angelis at San Carlo Honda Gresini, said simply, `I´m really impressed by their development because we ask something and the reaction is really quick. So I really enjoy riding with Bridgestone, especially because the front tyre gives me so much confidence.´

MotoGP, 2008

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