Misano: Michelin preview

Troy Bayliss: 11 wins out of 14 races. Two weeks ago, at Lausitz, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) did it again. He took yet another double and now has a 39 points lead on archrival Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). Bayliss ...

Troy Bayliss: 11 wins out of 14 races.

Two weeks ago, at Lausitz, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) did it again. He took yet another double and now has a 39 points lead on archrival Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). Bayliss leads the championship with 310 points to Edwards' 271. Neil Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) is a distant third on 165 points. He leads Noriyuki Haga (Playstation 2 Aprilia) who has 153 points. Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) is just one point down on the Japanese star. Ben Bostrom (Ducati) follows on 143 poi nts. With 12 races left this year, Bayliss is set to beat Doug Polen's record for the most World Superbike victories in one season (17 wins in 1991 on a Ducati). Carl Fogarty (Ducati-Michelin) also ranks among the championship's most successful riders with 13 wins in 1995, 11 wins two years before in 1993 and 10 wins in 1994.

Bayliss may be aiming for new records at almost every race but Edwards is also having a fine season. He's been on the podium an amazing 13 times in 14 races! Michelin also has a lot to be proud of -- the championship's three Michelin riders Bayliss, Edwards and Ruben Xaus have taken all three podium positions seven times his year.

Michelin and Italian motosports.

Few countries have a motosports tradition as rich as Italy. Michelin has partnered the best Italian teams and the greatest Italian champions since the first F1 car GP world title Michelin took with Ferrari in 1979. In world rallying, Michelin and Lancia ha ve claimed 8 titles (3 driver championships and 5 constructor's titles). In motorcycle GPs, Michelin has won world titles with Valentino Rossi, Paolo Pileri, Walter Villa, Mario Lega, Eugenio Lazzarini, Pier Paolo Bianchi, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Unicini , Fausto Gresini, Luca Cadalora, and manufacturers Morbidelli, Aermacchi Harley-Davidson, Garelli and Minarelli.

Michelin won the very first World Superbike race. At Donington in 1988, Davide Tardozzi won the first leg on a Bimota-Michelin and Marco Lucchinelli took the following win on a Ducati-Michelin. Michelin's years working alongside Ducati have yielded great r esults including Carl Fogarty's four world titles in 1994, 95, 98 and 99, Raymond Roche's 1990 title. Then came the Australians with Troy Corser becoming world champion in 1996 and Troy Bayliss last year.

Test session -- May 14th and 15th 2002:
Unofficial times:
1. Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 1m34.30
2. Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) 1m34.90
3. Bostrom (Ducati) 1m35.19
4. Haga (Aprilia) 1m35.37
5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1m35.43
6. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1m35.75
7. Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 1m35.99
8. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1m36.42
9. Lavilla (Suzuki Alstare) 1m36.50
10. Antonello (Ducati DFX) 1m37.40
11. Martin (Ducati DFX) 1m37.50

Troy bayliss: "These two days of testing have gone well. We managed some fast laps, even after a lot of laps on the same tyres. My best time on race tyres (1m35.3) was faster than last year's pole position so things are looking good. We've changed a few se ttings and the bike feels good. I can't wait to race in front of my Italian fans."

Misano and tyres

"Misano is a strange track," says Nicolas Goubert, chief of Michelin's motorcycling competition department. "The surface changes all the time because the track is close to the sea and that means the grip is never the same. Misano also has one turn that is a little like Phillip Island -- a long left-hander. The track is really in two parts. The first is quite fast and the second is much more twisty and requires a bike with good turning. Finding the right handling balance to be fast everywhere is difficult. La st year, Bostrom and Bayliss were great to watch because one was faster than the other in the first part and vice-versa. All these factors: a changing track surface, grip that is never the same, etc-- make Misano a very difficult circuit!"

Troy Bayliss: "It's one of our home tracks. It changes quite a bit with the surface, like you come testing in winter and it's slippery. It's a strange surface. We come here to race and it's always very busy, we get a good crowd for Misano. It always feels good for me to do well here. Last year was a good result for Ben Bostrom and myself. It's pretty good for Michelin and pretty good for Ducati here. I'm sure we can do a little bit better than last year."

Colin Edwards: "I would say it has been our bogey track forever. If there is any one track where I need to get a good result, it's here. I never had a good result here, my best one is third. The bike is working this year better in places where we never tho ught it would, so I am sure we'll be there."

Ruben Xaus : "It's a nice circuit -- interesting. There's a string of four left-hand corners that follow each other and you use just one line through them. To have a good race there it's important to get the set-up right. I won the Supersport race there in 99 but last year in Superbikes I didn't have a good race because I didn't have a good feeling. I hope I get a good result this year."

Designed in 1969, Misano was opened in 1972. The circuit's length was 3488 metres at the time. In 1993, it was increased to 4060 metres (2.52 miles) while track width was increased to 12 metres so that Misano could be homologated by the FIM. Recently, the circuit's length was changed once again when two corners were reworked to slow them down. This latest change has dropped World Superbike lap times by about a second. In 1997, the circuit infrastructures were revamped to boost its international status and a ppeal. Misano's excellent location (the track is 4 km away from Riccione, 15 from Rimini and 130 from Bologna) means that both Grands Prix and World Superbike events have been held there and it is often used as a test track.

The track presents some interesting challenges for the World Superbike aces, as Jean Herisse, Michelin's world superbike manager, explains. "The new section which was opened in 1993 has a different surface to the old section. That's no problem when it's dr y, but when it rains there's a big difference between the two."

The two most important turns are the left-handers at the start of the main straight. They can make a real difference to top speeds down that straight, which is a very good place to overtake.

Misano's layout isn't well balanced, with a lot more left-handers than right-handers. That means tyres wear faster on the left hand side because that's where they build up more heat. Michelin engineers have to come up with special solutions to the problem Misano is also special in that it's generally hard to set a fast time there in the mornings. Some suspect the explanation is a fine layer of sand which blows onto the track from nearby beaches during the night.

Michelin and Misano

Michelin brings a total of 600 tyres (400 rears and 200 fronts), wet and dry, for this race. Sizes are 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) for rear slicks, rain tyres and intermediates. Front tyre sizes are 12/60-420 (16.5 inch) tyres.

Michelin's on-site personnel includes one team manager, two technicians, four tyre fitters and one press officer.

Misano stats

Superbike:

Official practice record (2000)
1m35.194 Troy Corser (Aprilia), 153.539 kph average speed.

Superpole record (2000)
1m34.906 Troy Corser (Aprilia) 154.005 kph average speed.

Lap record (fastest race lap - 2001)
1m35.403 Neil Hodgson (GSE Racing Ducati) 153.203 kph average speed.

9th round of the Superbike World Championship: July 14 at Laguna Seca (USA).

-michelin-

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