German GP: Michelin preview

Michelin riders lead the 2008 MotoGP World Championship and hold six of the top eight points-scoring positions as the season moves into its second half in Germany. Championship leader Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) travels to the ...

Michelin riders lead the 2008 MotoGP World Championship and hold six of the top eight points-scoring positions as the season moves into its second half in Germany.

Championship leader Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) travels to the Sachsenring aiming to repeat his runaway 2007 victory at the sinuous, anti-clockwise track. And his team-mate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) will be going all out for a podium after missing third place at Assen by a few seconds. Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) grabbed that third place and will be aiming for another big points haul in Germany, along with fellow Michelin runners Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin), James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) and Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin).

Sachsenring commences its second decade of MotoGP racing this year. The short circuit hosted its first World Championship event in 1998, quarter of a century after the old Sachsenring street circuit last hosted a GP. Sachsenri ng was first used for racing in 1927 and hosted its first GP in 1961. Michelin has won all ten premier-class GPs held at the modern, purpose-built track.

Michelin MotoGP riders 2008
Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin)
Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin)
Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin)
Nicky Hayden (Repsol 20Honda RC212V-Michelin)
Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin)
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin)
James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin)

SACHSENRING TRACK FACT
Sachsenring: 3.671m
Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin), 1m 23.082s, 159.066km/h-(2007)
Pole position 2007: Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 1m 22.384s

"The Sachsenring isn't particularly abrasive but it's very demanding on the left side of the rear," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's chief of motorcycle racing. "The main characteristic of the track is its asymmetry, with the left side of the tyres getting a lot of stress, this is what we have to work on most of all. The layou t is also very undulating, so the front tyre gets a lot of stress in the downhill sections.

"At Sachsenring the left side of the tyres use harder compounds than what we used at Assen and Donington, similar to the compounds we used on the right side at Catalunya, another demanding track. The fronts will be similar to Catalunya - medium to hard compounds.

"Warm-up on the right side is important at Sachsenring because there's not so many right-handers. Our tyre warm-up is good this year and our tyres also have a good operating range. Even at Assen we used quite hard tyres for the race because we wanted to be consistent throughout. But afterwards we saw that could have gone slightly softer with some of our riders because Tech 3 used slightly softer compounds and Colin was very fast. Now we have to go for performance because Casey Stoner [Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici] is very fast, the target is to be able to fight with Casey."

"Apart from the track itself, we can see that the level of racing this season is incredibly high, the lap times and race times are very, very fa st. The target is therefore improving tyre performance at every track, which brings us to the compromise with which we always do battle. On the one hand our riders need to be consistent throughout the race, so they need hard tyres that can deal with the stress, but on the other hand they want soft tyres to give them more grip. This is the challenge that we face.

"If you want grip you want softer tyres, if you want consistency you want harder tyres, so we have to find the best balance between the two. What we are really working at now is using harder compounds that can go very fast. Mainly i t's a chemical challenge, but machine handling is very important so construction is also important.

"Sachsenring can be a tough track, especially if it's really hot, like last year when the track temperature reached 50 degree. But we'll have to wait and see what the weather brings - so far this year we've had to struggle with rain at most events."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Randy de Puniet , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team