MICHELIN MEN SET FOR GP IN THE TROPICS Michelin's MotoGP crew comes to Sepang determined to fight back after a tough race day in Australia last weekend. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) set the fastest lap of the race at ...
MICHELIN MEN SET FOR GP IN THE TROPICS
Michelin's MotoGP crew comes to Sepang determined to fight back after a tough race day in Australia last weekend. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) set the fastest lap of the race at Phillip Island but could only manage a third-place finish, just ahead of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) who had started the race from pole position.
This weekend Michelin will continue working with its new construction 16.5-inch rear slick and hopes to further development of its brand-new 16-inch rear slick, which was used in a race for the first time last weekend by Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin). The 2006 World Champion showed an impressive pace with the tyre before he was sidelined by machine problems.
Sepang is one of the most gruelling events on the MotoGP calendar at which bikes, riders and tyres must contend with tropical heat and humidity. The circuit, which hosted its first GP in 1999, has been completely resurfaced for the 2007 event.
MICHELIN AND THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE OF SEPANG
"Sepang is quite an unusual circuit with an interesting layout -- very wide with a good variety of corners and some strong braking areas," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "But the main factor this weekend is that the circuit has been entirely resurfaced, which changes everything from a tyre point of view. A new surface and high temperatures usually makes life very tough for the tyres, so it will be a challenging weekend for all the tyre companies. Also, to further complicate matters, the surface has recently been patched up because the tarmac they laid after the Malaysian F1 GP was quite bumpy. Obviously we have already got some basic information about the character of the tarmac, but no one knows what it's really like until we're actually there, so it will be a bit of a gamble. The last two newly surfaced tracks we have been to were very different -- Laguna was very demanding on tyres but Misano wasn't. Anyway, usually new tarmac means hard tyres.
"We've had very changeable conditions at the last two races, which makes it difficult to work in a consistent way with the tyres, sometimes you end up having to gamble on tyre choice. At Motegi our latest construction 16.5-inch rear slicks worked really well and at Phillip Island Nicky raced for the first time with our new 16-inch rear, with positive results.
"There are a lot of long corners at Sepang, through which riders spend a lot of time on the side of the tyres, so edge grip is vital. This is the big thing we've been working on with our new construction rear tyre, which give riders better stability in the middle of the corners, which helps them to exploit faster corner speed and then quicker exits.
Lap record: Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 2m 02.127s, 163.541km/h-101.620mph (2006)
Pole position 2006: Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 2m 00.605s