Australian GP: Michelin preview

"Phillip Island is the toughest track we go to in MotoGP, it demands a great deal from the tyres," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "We use very specific rear tyres for this track because it's like nowhere...

"Phillip Island is the toughest track we go to in MotoGP, it demands a great deal from the tyres," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "We use very specific rear tyres for this track because it's like nowhere else. It is the layout of the track which is aggressive, not the asphalt. The circuit features a lot of fast left-handers, through which riders use a lot of lean angle and a lot of throttle, which puts a lot of heat into the rear tyre. The turns that put the most heat into the tyres are Southern Loop and the final corner onto the start-finish.

"The other challenge at Phillip Island is the track's asymmetric layout. It is as asymmetric as Valencia, but more demanding. There are few right-handers, so it's important to have good warm-up on the right side of the tyres. The compound on the left side of the rear tyres is therefore really hard, while the compound on the right is medium to medium-soft. The front tyres don't have such a tough time, so we use medium-compound fronts.

"The third big challenge at Phillip Island is the weather, which can be a bit unpredictable. Conditions can be quite cool at this time of year, especially in the morning sessions, so this is something else we have to deal with, a big difference in temperature between the morning and the afternoon. Warm-up performance is particularly crucial in the morning sessions."

Phillip Island Data Lap record: Marco Melandri (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin), 1m 30.332s, 177.266km/h-110.148mph (2005)

Pole position 2007: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), 1m 29.201s

Michelin's MotoGP crew continues its Pacific Rim tour of duty this week, heading south from Motegi, Japan, to tackle the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island before returning northwards for the Malaysian GP on October 19. The 2008 season concludes back in Europe, at Valencia in Spain, on October 26.

Michelin's top MotoGP performers will be looking to score more valuable points at Phillip Island, with the company's top three riders separated by just 51 points with three races remaining. Rookie Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) is currently placed fourth overall, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin). Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) lies eighth in the points chase.

Phillip Island is MotoGP's fastest and arguably its favourite racetrack. Most riders love the seaside venue's fast, open curves which demand total commitment and trust in the tyres. The circuit is also the most demanding for tyres, because riders spend a lot of time at high lean angles and use big handfuls of throttle coming out of the sweeping corners.

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , Marco Melandri , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa , Phillip Island
Teams Repsol Honda Team