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MSMA boycotts Pirelli tire deal at World Superbike Championships

May 6, 2004
Filed under Features

The Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association (MSMA), which represents Aprilia S.p.A, Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Mv Agusta S.p.A., KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., said its members will not participate in World Championship Superbike racing until changes are made in rules governing tires used in the races, MSMA said in a prepared statement.
The statement, signed by Takanao Tsubouchi, secretary general of MSMA, was released by the group to clarify its position, “in light of rumors and misinformation regarding who will be competing in World Championship Superbike racing.”
MSMA members said they object to the exclusive designation of one tire manufacturer — Pirelli — which is getting exclusive sponsorship in the races. Pirelli signed a deal in July making it the exclusive tire supplier for 2004 and 2005.
MSMA members are against the idea of “restricting tires to a single make so that a tire maker can become World Champion just by buying the title,” Tsubouchi writes.
“A set of very fair technical rules had been agreed by all MSMA members in order to prevent unnecessarily high market prices for the machines that the series is based on, but the rules have not been adopted, said Tsubouchi in the MSMA statement.
“Consequently, the MSMA members have unanimously determined that unless these rules are adopted and the decision to restrict tires to a single make is rescinded, MSMA members will not compete in 2004 World Championship Superbike racing as factory teams, and furthermore, will not provide technical assistance on a factory basis.”
Ducati is exempt, due to its pre-existing contractual commitments to sponsors.
“The MSMA is deeply saddened at having to make this announcement, but has been forced into the decision. As motorcycle manufacturers, we have to take a resolute stand against technical rules that are likely to be detrimental to the interests of ordinary motorbike customers,” says Tsubouchi.
“We sincerely hope that all devotees of the Championship will appreciate why we have to take this approach, says Tsubouchi. We hope that you will continue to be able to give your support to the continuing support to the growth of motorcycling and motorcycle racing.”

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