Malaysia MotoGP: Bridgestone Hits 150

Sepang MotoGP News

This afternoon’s Malaysian Grand Prix marked a significant milestone for Bridgestone in motorcycle racing as the Japanese manufacturer marks its 150th start in the premier class.

Bridgestone first entered the 125cc category of the FIM Road Racing World Championship in 1991, stepping up to the premier class in 2002 with Kanemoto Racing running Jurgen van den Goorbergh and Proton Team KR with Nobuatsu Aoki and Jeremy McWilliams.

McWilliams scored the first pole position on Bridgestone tires the same year at the penultimate race in Australia.

In 2003, Makoto Tamada marked the second milestone by scoring the first podium finish on Bridgestone tires with third position for the Pramac Honda team in Brazil.

The following year Tamada improved on his success at Brazil, this time with the Camel Honda squad, and marked the first victory on Bridgestone tyres in the premier class, following up with a second victory in Japan that same year.

Bridgestone’s rise continued in 2005 and 2006 as Ducati Corse joined Suzuki and Kawasaki, who were partnered from 2004, as major manufacturers whom Bridgestone supported.

This new partnership yielded six wins in the two years, five from Loris Capirossi and one from Troy Bayliss.Then came the first world title in 2007 with Casey Stoner and the Ducati Team, cementing Bridgestone tyres as the choice of champions just six seasons after the manufacturer’s premier class debut.

Now, on the eve of what could be the deciding race of the 2010 World Championship, in the ninth season of competition in the premier class and on the 20th anniversary of Malaysian motorsport, this Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang is the 150th race start for Bridgestone.

Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “I am excited that this weekend we will reach our 150th premier class motorcycle grand prix start; an achievement of which we are very proud. From our very first year in the sport we had a desire to succeed, to make the Bridgestone brand synonymous with motorcycle racing the world over, and to be a long-standing partner of MotoGP, and I am very happy that we have been able to fulfil all of these.”

“It was a big and very difficult challenge at the start as we were only with three riders and nobody believed that we could beat our strong competitor. We didn’t expect back then to end up as the Official Tire Supplier now but I believe this came from our great successes and strength in 2007 and 2008.”

“We have quite a short history in the sport but I’m very proud of our successes in this time. Of course I’d like to thank the teams and riders for their support over the years and the part they’ve played in our success and development, and also Dorna and the FIM who we continue to enjoy a close relationship with. It’s an honor to reach this milestone, and I hope we can continue to add to our rich motorsport pedigree in the coming years.”

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).