Round 9: Laguna Seca (USA) 9 July 2000
For the first time in his career, Texan Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) arrives at Laguna Seca (California) in first place in the Superbike ranking, with a 26-point lead on number-two Troy Corser (Aprilia) and points scored in 14 of the 16 races run so far. Following on from eight first places in previous world Superbike events with Castrol Honda RVF 750 RC 45-Michelin (Monza 98 rounds 1 and 2, Brands Hatch 98, Donington 99, Albacete 99, rounds 1 and 2 of Brands Hatch 99 and the A1 Ring in Austria 99 ), Edwards has already put four victories behind him this year (Kyalami 1, Kyalami 2, Donington 1 and Monza 2) riding a new Honda VTR 1000 SPW, the first twin-cylinder machine entered for Superbike racing by the world’s leading manufacturer.
Another very serious US contender is emerging talent Ben Bostrom, riding with Team Ducati NCR-Michelin. Bostrom won the second round at Laguna Seca last year and came second in the first round.
He came third at Misano, and finished twice in second place at the last round of the championship at Valencia in Spain. He has scored championship points in 15 of the 16 races run so far, and stands out as one of the big favourites for Laguna Seca.
Since Monza (Italy), Australian Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) has been standing in for Carl Fogarty, who has seven world championship titles to his name, including four in Superbike racing. Though Bayliss has only run in four world championship rounds, he stands in fifth place in the provisional ranking thanks to eight very good results, between first place (Hockenheim) and fourth.
Michelin’s long tradition with US riders
Many of the great US riders have ridden Michelin in the past, including 500cc Grand Prix world champions Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. Michelin also partnered Superbike wizards John Kocinski (in 1997) and Fred Merkel (in 1988). Michelin’s long tradition with US riders continues today with Kenny Roberts (Suzuki-Michelin), currently heading the 500cc World Championship, as well as Colin Edwards, currently leading the World Superbike Championship.
Tyre designers have to allow for several specific difficulties inherent to the Laguna Seca track. There are very slow bends like Turn 2, a left-hand hairpin that requires deceleration down to about 80 km/h, but there are also a number of much faster bends. Then the run following the Corkscrew is a particularly interesting challenge because it is all downhill. Relief is an important factor at the Laguna Seca track, the length of which was extended a few years ago to accommodate the distance for world championship Grand Prix and Superbike events.
The Colin Edwards viewpoint
"Laguna Seca is a good track. Some of the walls are a little close to the track, but it’s still one of my favourite venues, after Donington and Phillip Island. I like the Corkscrew; it’s one of the great classics that everyone should try. I’ve come off there twice over the last four years, but it was bad luck. But I guess my favourite stretch is after Corkscrew. The last three bends are great! “ “As far as I’m concerned, Michelin tyres are the best. Dunlops are ok on some tracks, but I reckon Michelins have a winning edge at most locations."
For this race, Michelin is bringing in a total of 1100 tyres, covering dry and wet track conditions.
For Superbike events there are four different tyre sizes : 18 / 67-17 (17in) and 19 / 67-420 (16.5in) for the rear slicks (single size of 18 / 67-17 for wet-track and mixed conditions); and a choice between 12 / 60-17 (17in) and 12 / 60-420 (16.5in) at the front. Trackside supplies run to 800 dry-track tyres, 200 wet-track tyres and 100 mixed tyres.
For the Supersport category (not a world championship event at Laguna Seca this year), Michelin offers Pilot Race tyres in 120 / 70 ZR 17 and 180 / 55 ZR 17 sizes. Dry-track tyres are certified for road use and wet-track tyres are certified by the International Motorcycle Federation (F.I.M). This year, over half the riders in the World Supersport Championship are using Michelins.
On-site Michelin personnel include one manager, three technicians, seven fitters (including two Americans), one spokesperson and one press correspondent.
<pre> 2000 Superbike World Championship (provisional positions)* 1 - Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin) 232 points 2 - Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing) 206 points 3 - Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK Team) 187 points 4 - Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki Alstare) 169 points 5 - Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) 133 points 6 - Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki Racing Team) 130 points 7 - Ben Bostrom (Team Ducati NCR - Michelin) 124 points 8 - Katsuaki Fujiwara (Suzuki) 93 points 9 - Aaron Slight (Honda Castrol - Michelin) 83 points 10 - Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki Racing Team) 71 points
2000 Supersport World Championship (provisional positions)* 1 - Jorg Teuchert (Alpha Technik Yamaha) 116 points 2 - Christian Kellner (Alpha Technik Yamaha) 99 points 3 - James Whitham (Yamaha Belgarda - Michelin) 88 points 4 - Paolo Casoli (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) 84 points 5 - Stéphane Chambon (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 80 points 6 - Iain MacPherson (Kawasaki Racing Team) 53 points 7 - Fabrizio Pirovano (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 48 points
Best time, official trials 1999 1'25"185 by Anthony Gobert (Vance & Hines Ducati) Average speed: 152.223 km/h
Best time, Superpole 1999 1'26"194 by Troy Corser (Ducati Performance-Michelin)
Best time, race 1999 1'27"020 by Troy Corser (Ducati Performance-Michelin) at an average speed of 149.014 km/h (Lap 27, round 2)
Track record 1'26"296 by Wataru Yoshikawa (Yamaha) in 1996
Results of first round 1999 1 - Anthony Gobert (Vance & Hines Ducati) 28 laps (100,856 km / 62,664 miles) in 41'01"775 (147,488 km/h) 2 - Ben Bostrom (Vance & Hines Ducati) at 3"151 3 - Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki Racing Team) at 3"382 4 - Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) at 13"405 5 - Carl Fogarty (Ducati Performance-Michelin) at 13"709
Results of second round 1999 1 - Ben Bostrom (Vance & Hines Ducati) 28 laps (100,856 km / 62,664 miles) in 40'58"346 (147.693 km/h) 2 - Troy Corser (Ducati Performance-Michelin) at 3"012 3 - Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki Alstare) at 6"31 4 - Carl Fogarty (Ducati Performance-Michelin) at 10"62 5 - Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) at 13"99
Michelin international victories this year Superbike
In the World Superbike Championship, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) won the first round at Kyalami and Donington, and won the second round at Monza; Anthony Gobert (MVR Bimota Experience-Michelin) won the first round at Phillip Island; and Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) won the first round at Hockenheim.
In the World Supersport Championship, James Whitham (Yamaha Belgarda-Michelin Pilot) won at Phillip Island and Paolo Casoli (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin Pilot) won at Monza.
Grand Prix 500
Michelin claimed its 250th Grand Prix success story this year, with Alex Crivillé (Repsol YPF Honda-Michelin) in the French Grand Prix event, before going on to claim three further victories, culminating with the number 253 at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Endurance, motocross and trial
In the World Endurance Championship, Costes, Charpentier and Gimbert (Honda-Michelin) won the Le Mans 24-Hours event. In motocross, the Italian 125cc Grand Prix was won by Traversini (Husqvarna-Michelin), ahead of Séguy (Yamaha-Michelin). Federici (Yamaha-Michelin) won the Slovakian 250cc Grand Prix ahead of Beirer (Kawasaki-Michelin). Doug Lampkin (Montesa-Honda) won the World Trial Championship for the fourth time running.
McRae-Grist (Ford-Michelin) won the Catalunya and Acropolis Rallies; Mäkinen-Mannisenmaki (Mitsubishi-Michelin) won at Monte Carlo; and Grönholm-Rautiainen (Peugeot-Michelin) won in Sweden.
Le Mans 24-Hours and FIA-GT
In the Le Mans 24-Hours event, the top nine teams were using Michelins, including the winning team of Biela, Kristensen and Pirro (Audi-Michelin).
In FIA-GT, Bailey-Campbell-Walter (Lister Storm-Michelin) won at Valencia, Estoril and Silverstone. Winners at the 12-Hours Sebring event were Biela-Kristensen-Pirro (Audi-Michelin) (general) and Beretta-Wendlinger-Dupuy (Dodge Viper GTS R-Michelin) (GTS), and the Viper team also won the 24-hour Daytona event.
Lehto-Müller (BMW V12 LMR-Michelin) won the American Le Mans Series at Charlotte (USA) and Silverstone (UK).
Official Michelin Superbike runners 1 Carl Fogarty (GBR) Injured and temporarly replaced by 21 Troy Bayliss (AUS) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 2 Colin Edwards (USA) Honda Castrol Honda 111 Aaron Slight (NZL) Honda Castrol Honda 10 Vittoriano Guareschi (ITA) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda WSBK Team 12 Haruchika Aoki (JAP) Ducati Team R&D Bieffe 13 Andreas Meklau (AUT) Ducati Gerin WSBK Team 155 Ben Bostrom (USA) Ducati Team Ducati NCR 33 Robert Ulm (AUT) Ducati Gerin WSBK Team 19 Juan Borja (SPA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada
Official Michelin Supersport runners 5 Ruben Xaus (SPA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 8 Cristiano Migliorati (ITA) Suzuki Team Metalsistem Endoug Suzuki 9 Wilco Zeelenberg (NED) Yamaha Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team 10 William Costes (FRA) Honda Team Honda France Elf 15 Paolo Casoli (ITA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 16 Sébastien Charpentier (FRA) Honda Team Honda France Elf 17 Pere Riba (SPA) Honda Castrol Honda 18 Vittoriano Iannuzzo (ITA) Yamaha Team Lorenzini by Leoni 19 Walter Tortoroglio (ITA) Ducati DFX Racing 20 Karl Harris (GBR) Suzuki Team Metalsistem Endoug Suzuki 21 Massimo Meregalli (ITA) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda 25 Igor Jerman (SLO) Ducati TDC Desenzano Corse 29 Christer Lindholm (SWE) Yamaha Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team 34 Yves Briguet (SWI) Ducati DFX Racing 35 Shinya Takeishi (JAP) Honda Castrol Honda 69 James Whitham (GBR) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda