British GP: Michelin preview

MICHELIN MEN AIM TO WIN AGAIN AT DONINGTON French tyre brand currently has five riders in the championship top seven The MotoGP circus crosses the English Channel for the British Grand Prix where Michelin riders will be aiming to give the...

MICHELIN MEN AIM TO WIN AGAIN AT DONINGTON

French tyre brand currently has five riders in the championship top seven

The MotoGP circus crosses the English Channel for the British Grand Prix where Michelin riders will be aiming to give the French tyre brand its second consecutive victory and its fourth success of the year. As the 2008 MotoGP series nears half-distance Michelin has no less than five riders in the top seven of the points standings.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) is second overall, just five points off the points lead, after his totally dominant win at Catalunya on June 8. Dazzling rookie Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) is still third on points despite missing Catalunya due to injury. Then it's veteran Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) and rookies Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) and James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) in fifth, sixth and seventh. Toseland has impressed in the first races of MotoGP career, with four top-six finishes so far, and the Briton will be out for a best-ever result at Donington, where he has previously enjoyed World Superbike glory.

Donington is a real challenge for riders, motorcycle engineers and technicians with a very asymmetric layout that features few left-handers and two contrasting sections that demand different riding styles and a delicate compromise in machine character and tyre performance.

The British GP is the third race in four weekends and there's no rest after the event with riders and teams hotfooting it back across the Channel for the Dutch TT on Saturday June 28.

DONINGTON PARK DATA

4.023km/2.500 miles

Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), 1m 28.714s, 163.252km/h (2006)

Pole position 2007: Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 1m 28.531s

"Two of the last three Donington races have been run in the wet, so we hope for a dry race this time, especially since we have already had rain at a lot of this year's MotoGP events," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's chief of motorcycle racing. "Donington usually has an okay grip level in the dry but we will have to wait and see how it is this time. Track surfaces tend to change year by year. We saw that at Catalunya where the track was very slippery, possibly because there had been a truck race there a few weeks earlier.

"Donington is not especially demanding on tyres, it's probably quite similar to Le Mans from a tyre wear point of view. The big challenge is finding a compromise for the track's peculiar layout. For example, you need very good warm-up on the left-side of the tyres because the left doesn't make contact with the tarmac very often. If you consider Foggy's esses, the left of the tyres hasn't touched the ground for a long time, so you need to make sure you still have good temperature in the tyres for the first part of the chicane. But you can't simply use a very soft compound on the left because that side of the tyre does get a lot of stress through the high-speed double left-hander of Schwantz Curve.

"We had a very useful two-day test at Catalunya after the race where we confirmed some new compounds that we will use for some races in the near future. As always, we are working to find the best balance between tyre performance and consistency. In MotoGP riders now need to run quite hard tyres which allow them to be fast all the way to the finish, but at the same time they need fast warm-up and excellent grip. We have also made some good progress with new constructions recently. Andrea used a new rear construction during the tests at Catalunya, something we had worked out after Mugello, and it gave good results."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team