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Michelin Appoints New Director of Motorcycle Racing

Brno, August 20th 2006

Michelin has appointed a new director of its motorcycle racing activities. Jean-Philippe Weber will take over the position from Nicolas Goubert at the end of the 2006 MotoGP season.

The appointment comes at a crucial moment for the renowned French tyre brand, with MotoGP switching to 800cc machines for the 2007 World Championship and the company withdrawing from Formula One at the end of this season. MotoGP is thus set to become an even bigger part of Michelin's global presence.

"I  am  happy,  honoured  and  humble  to  take  over  from  Nicolas,"  says  Weber,  whose  background  is  in chemical engineering. "I have been working with him and his team for several years, so I already know that it is  very  exciting  to  work  with  Michelin's  MotoGP  crew  and  with  the  company's  partners.  The  results  have been  very  impressive  for  many  years,  so  it  is  a  big  challenge  to  maintain  that  success  and  to  continue developing technology through competition."

Goubert, who has been with Michelin since 1988 and has run its motorcycle racing activities since 1997, will continue to grow his career with the company in a position to be announced shortly. "I've had a great time, meeting  and  working  with  some  amazing  people,"  says  Goubert,  who  has  presided  over  a  period  of unprecedented  success.  "This  job  has  been  my  passion  but  I  need  a  new  challenge.  My  future  is  with Michelin, although it will be difficult to work in anything as fascinating and rewarding as MotoGP."

Weber, a keen street and off-road rider, began working on Michelin motorcycle race tyres in 2001, focusing on  MotoGP,  Superbike  and  Supermotard.  As  a  richly  qualified  chemist  (with  a  doctorate  in  organic chemistry), his initial involvement was with compounds, though he soon began working on all aspects of tyre development. His new job takes him from behind the scenes to a new position in the public eye. "This is my dream job because motorcycles are my life," he adds. "I own several streetbikes and dirt bikes but if I had 200 motorcycles I would still want some more!"

Michelin motorsport director Frédéric Henry  -Biabaud acknowledges that Weber's appointment comes at a fascinating moment for Michelin's motorpsort department. "We wish Jean -Philippe all the best in his new role and we know that we will be able to give Nicolas the new challenge he is looking for," he says. "MotoGP will become an even bigger part of our strategy now that the Michelin Group is leaving F1 to focus on MotoGP, Endurance car racing and in WRC with the BFGoodrich brand."

There are three key factors in our involvement in MotoGP:

- First, its profile is very big and getting bigger, so the return on our investment is excellent. Also its visibility goes far beyond  the  world  of motorcycling,  which means it  benefits  Michelin  as a  whole.  And it  is  a  very challenging, very competitive discipline with some real heroes.

- Second,  its  link  to  our  business  is  absolutely  crucial.  At  a  MotoGP  race  all  the  fans  know  what  tyres they've got on their bikes, so in MotoGP you are always talking to your end customer. Also, MotoGP gives us  a  very  strong  link  to  our  technical  partners  who  use  our  tyres  as  OE  equipment  on  their  customer machines.

- Third, the technical relationships between MotoGP and streetbikes is very close, much closer than in most other motorsports, so there is a direct link between our MotoGP tyres and our street tyres.

Michelin  has  won  more  of  300  of  500  and  MotoGP  victories,  plus  25  of  the  last  30  premier-class  World Championships, including a clean sweep of the last 14 crowns. Its race win rate over the past decade stands at around 95 per cent.

Jean-Philippe Weber
Born: 18 October 1968
Marital status: married, one son
Lives: Clermont-Ferrand

Masters  degree  in  science  and  technology  of  physical  and  chemical  processes,  Toulouse

Certified engineer of chemistry, Strasbourg School of Chemistry

Doctorate of organic chemistry, Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg

Research into synthetic rubber and adhesives

Joins Michelin, working on truck and car tyre development

Joins Michelin motorsport department, working in motorcycle racing and endurance car racing