Czech GP: Michelin preview

MICHELIN MEN RESUME TITLE CHALLENGE Michelin begins the second part of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship aiming to strengthen its challenge for the world title. Its top two riders Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and ...

MICHELIN MEN RESUME TITLE CHALLENGE

Michelin begins the second part of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship aiming to strengthen its challenge for the world title. Its top two riders Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) have won two of the last three races -- at Assen and the Sachsenring -- and currently hold second and third position in the point standings with seven of 18 races still to go.

After a difficult race at Laguna Seca last month the pair aim to resume their title challenge at Brno, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. The epic Czech circuit hosted its first motorcycle Grand Prix in 1987, when the race was won by Michelin rider Wayne Gardner on his Rothmans Honda NSR500. Previously the Czech GP was run on a public roads circuit just outside the city of Brno that hosted its first World Championship event in 1965.

MICHELIN AND THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE OF BRNO

"The grip level of at Brno is rather weak because the surface is quite old, completely different from the new surface at Laguna Seca which was very aggressive," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "Brno is a difficult track because on the one hand you need rather soft tyres because there's not much grip, but on the other hand you need harder tyres because the track is quite fast and open so you use a lot of throttle which can mean a lot of wheelspin if you go too soft with your tyres. So we have to find a compromise between these two opposites, adapting compound and construction to find the best solution. You need a medium to medium-soft range of tyres for Brno but we will also have harder tyres available.

"The front tyre is also very important at Brno because the track is undulating and there are quite a few downhill corner entries. In some ways it's quite similar to Mugello, so we will bring front tyres that aren't too different from what we use at Mugello. The different loads experienced through the uphill and downhill sections also complicate the task of rear tyre choice

"Going into the second part of the season we have some high-speed tracks coming up. I feel confident that we can supply tyres that work well at these circuits but I am a little bit worried about the speed differential between the different bikes at the faster tracks.

"We know that we have to work very hard at improving our tyres, and especially at developing compounds and constructions that work over a broader range of conditions, because that's what everyone wants to work at their best within the new tyre regulations. One of the problems that we face at the moment is lack of testing time -- there has been no testing since just after the French GP at Le Mans in May. In between races we can test tyres on superbike machines but we don't have any opportunity to test with our top MotoGP riders on MotoGP bikes at MotoGP tracks, which makes it difficult to develop new tyres. Nonetheless, we have been working very hard all through the summer break, developing and testing tyres in preparation for Brno and the subsequent races. We are looking forward to the last seven races and working with our partners to get the best possible results."

Credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Wayne Gardner
Teams Repsol Honda Team