Czech GP: Michelin preview

MICHELIN MEN READY FOR UP & DOWN BRNO The 2006 MotoGP series fires back into life at Brno, following the championship's traditional month-long summer recess. The Czech Grand Prix also commences the final stage of the 2006 season - six ...

MICHELIN MEN READY FOR UP & DOWN BRNO

The 2006 MotoGP series fires back into life at Brno, following the championship's traditional month-long summer recess. The Czech Grand Prix also commences the final stage of the 2006 season - six races, three in Europe, three in Asia and Australia, concluding with the Valencia round on October 29.

So far, Michelin riders have been the dominant force of 2006, taking ten wins from the first 11 races, filling 28 of 33 podium places and currently occupying seven of the first eight championship positions, including the top four places. The battle for the 2006 title now seems down to those four men - Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V-Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) - who have used Michelin's high-performing 2006 tyres to take all of the company's 2006 race wins and are currently separated by 51 points. Hayden, Pedrosa and Melandri have all won two races apiece, while Rossi has won four but also suffered three DNFs.

Michelin has won the last ten premier-class GPs at Brno and has scored a total of 15 victories at the circuit since it hosted its first GP in 1987.

MICHELIN'S RESPONSE TO THE CHALLENGE OF BRNO

"Brno is a great track, a real rider's track, quite fast with varied corners, some quite long and open, and also very undulating, so we enjoy going there," says Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's motorcycle racing director. "The surface is old now, so it's quite bumpy, though after Laguna Seca it willprobably seem pretty smooth to the riders!"

"Front tyre grip is important at Brno because there are a lot of downhill corner entries. We now have three different types of front tyre being used by our riders - the new, bigger profile 16.5in front and two different constructions of our narrower profile 16.5in. Different tyres suit different riding styles and bikes. The new construction of the narrower profile tyre which is now used by several of our riders should help at Brno because riders need a lot of feel and grip into the downhill corners, and they use a lot of trail-braking into these turns. The bigger profile tyre should help in the same way. But Valentino proved at the Sachsenring that the older construction of the narrower tyre can also do an amazing job!

"Rear traction is also important at Brno because the surface is old and doesn't offer a lot of grip. Finding good traction isn't easy when you have both uphill and downhill sections, because the bike needs to put the right loads on the tyres and it's much easier to get the bike to do that consistently when you have a flat circuit. But Brno isn't that demanding on rear tyres because the tarmac is old and not aggressive. Our 2006 rear should definitely help, the tyre offers more sidegrip which is important through long corners. Chatter can also be an issue at Brno because it's quite bumpy and bumps can sometimes set off chatter.

"Brno starts the last part of the season and we hope to have as much success during the last six races of the year as we had at the first 11. We won ten of those and filled most of the podiums, so although we are coming up to a few circuits where one of our competitors always does well, we are hopeful of some more good results."

-credit: www.michelinsport.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Marco Melandri , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team