World Superbike Championship
Round 12: Oschersleben (Germany)
10 September 2000
Michelin heads Superbike with Edwards, and Supersport with Casoli
Texan rider Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) was able to make the very most of his new Michelin 16.5in rain tyres, pulling off a superb victory last Sunday in the first leg at Assen. This brings him to Oschersleben at the top of the provisional World Superbike Championship ranking, with a 20-point lead over Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha).
"I was determined to get off to a good start at Assen, and slip ahead as soon as possible," he declared. "When Troy Bayliss was riding out in front, I was happy enough to tail him, but when he came off I decided to go ahead and widen the gap. That strategy worked fine, and the new 16.5in Michelin rain tyres were just excellent. Obviously, it was a great thrill to get back up there on the highest step of the podium". Edwards, who hails from Conroe, near Houston, fared less spectacularly in the second leg, finishing fifth: "That was disappointing because it cut back the lead I'd built up in the overall championship ranking, but I'm intent on improving my performance next Sunday in Germany, where my sights are set on two first places!"
With excellent performance earning him second and third places at Assen, Juan Borja (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) looks in top form, as indeed does team-mate Troy Bayliss, who is standing in for Carl Fogarty. Of course, the main worry for all teams is that this is the first World Superbike Championship race to be run at Oschersleben, which means that they will have to adapt quickly to determine optimum settings. Troy Bayliss, who is new to almost all the tracks this year, has already proven beyond a doubt that he can adapt quickly to new situations and therefore be amongst the favourites.
In the manufacturers' ranking, Ducati-Michelin leads (with 369 points), closely followed by Honda-Michelin (with 332) and Yamaha (with 323).
Paolo Casoli (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin Pilot) leads the World Supersport Championship ranking since last Sunday, with the final decision just two races away. The Ducati 748 bikes are currently delivering peak performances, as Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin Pilot) demonstrated very clearly in Holland. Paolo Casoli can expect a difficult time in Germany, with a lead of just six points on Jörg Teuchert (Alpha Technik Yamaha), who will be racing on home ground at Oschersleben. And at just 13 behind the leader, Christian Kellner (Alpha Technik Yamaha) also stands a definite chance. Current champion Stéphane Chambon (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) is 14 points behind, but his second place at Assen brings sound proof that there is no lack of motivation.
Paolo Casoli has the advantage of familiarity with the racetrack. In 1997 he not only won here but also set the best ever track time, starting from pole position.
Track challenges and Michelin solutions
The track is 3,667 metres (2.285 miles) long and 11 to 13 metres wide. It has 14 bends (seven rightward and seven leftward) and is run clockwise. The longest straight is 680 metres long. Spectator space is designed along arena principle, with around 70% of the audience having visibility over half of the track. Trackside space is large enough to afford good rider safety, and spectator safety is ensured by stands raised up to six or eight metres above the track.
The Motopark Oschersleben track, south-west of Magdeburg, around 150 km from Berlin and Hanover, was opened in July 1997. Construction involved shifting three million cubic metres of earth. The centre has 29 stands along a straight stretch measuring 280 metres.
The track has already hosted two legs of the World Endurance Championship. In 1999, Sylvain Waldmeier, Bernard Cuzin and Jérôme Couturier won with the Yamaha R1 entered by Team Endurance Moto 38. And this year Sébastien Scarnato, Nicolas Dussauge and Christophe Guyot won with the GMT (Guyot Motorcycle Team) Kawasaki.
Jean-Jacques Chatelier, Michelin Competition Superbike technician, knows the Oschersleben track from 1997: "It's a good, even track with the same number of left-turning and right-turning bends, most of them fairly slow. Because there are no immense straights, the rider's first impression is that overtaking will prove tricky. But in fact, right from the opening trial in the German championship it became clear that this was not actually the case."
Undoubtedly a more serious problem is that the need for adaptation to a track configuration that is very different from Assen, where the runners rode last week. This becomes strikingly evident when we realize that the fastest Supersport track speed at Oschersleben stands at 141.410 km/h (Paolo Casoli with Ducati), compared with 164.691 km/h at Assen (Iain MacPherson with Kawasaki).
The track surface is not highly abrasive, so tyre endurance is not a major concern here. Without going into too much technical detail, the fairly strong riding emphasis on the front wheels will probably lead the engineers to fit medium-soft tyres at the rear and medium-hard at the front.
For this German race, Michelin is bringing in a total of 2,000 tyres, covering wet-track and dry-track conditions.
For Superbike events there are four tyre sizes in all: 18 / 67-17 (17in) or 19 / 67-420 (16.5in) for the rear wheels; and 12 / 60-17 (17in) or 12 / 60-420 (16.5in) for the front wheels.
Trackside supplies run to 800 dry-track tyres, 200 wet-track tyres and 100 mixed tyres.
For the Supersport category, Michelin will be bringing 900 Pilot Race tyres in 120 / 70 ZR 17 and 180 / 55 ZR 17 sizes. Dry-track tyres are certified for road use and wet-track tyres are certified by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. This year, over half the riders in the World Supersport Championship are fitting Michelins. On-site Michelin personnel include one manager, four technicians, seven fitters (including three Germans), one motorcycle Competition Manager, one communication manager and one press officer.
<pre> 2000 Superbike World Championship (provisional positions)*
1 - Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin) 317 points 2 - Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK Team) 297 points 3 - Troy Corser (Aprilia Axo Team) 279 points 4 - Pierfrancesco Chili (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 214 points 5 - Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki Racing Team) 199 points 6 - Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin 187 points 7 - Ben Bostrom (Team Ducati NCR - Michelin) 154 points 8 - Aaron Slight (Castrol Honda - Michelin) 131 points 9 - Katsuaki Fujiwara (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 130 points 10 - Juan Borja (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) 111 points 11 - Andreas Meklau (Gerin WSBK Team - Michelin) 88 points 12 - Neil Hodgson (ISN Ducati GSE Racing) 86 points
2000 Supersport World Championship (provisional positions)*
1 - Jorg Teuchert (Alpha Technik Yamaha) 132 points 2 - Paolo Casoli (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) 120 points 3 - Christian Kellner (Alpha Technik Yamaha) 109 points 4 - Stéphane Chambon (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 108 points 5 - James Whitham (Yamaha Belgarda - Michelin) 88 points 6 - Iain MacPherson (Kawasaki Racing Team) 69 points 7 - Karl Muggeridge (Team Ten Kate Honda) 66 points 8 - Rubens Xaus (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) 64 points 9 - Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha Belgarda - Michelin) 55 points 10 - Fabrizio Pirovano (Team Suzuki Alstare Corona Extra) 53 points 11 - Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki Racing Team) 48 points 12 - Pere Riba (Castrol Honda - Michelin) 44 points
Superbike results in national pro-superbike Championship Best time, test session 1'30"027, by Christer Lindholm (Yamaha), at average speed of 146.636 km/h (1999)
Lap record 1'30"618, by Andreas Meklau (Ducati-Michelin), at an average speed of 145.501 km/h (1998)
Supersport results Best time, test session 1'33"252, by Paolo Casoli (Ducati), at an average speed of 145.541 km/h (1997)
Lap record 1'33"252, by Paolo Casoli (Ducati), at average speed of 144.707 km/h (1997)
Fastest track average 141.410 km/h (28 laps in 44'47"331), by Paolo Casoli (Ducati) in 1997
</pre> Michelin's results
A few of Michelin's international victories this year
In the World Superbike Championship, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) won both rounds at Kyalami, the first round at Donington, the second round at Monza, and the first race at Assen; Anthony Gobert (MVR Bimota Experience-Michelin) won the first round on home ground at Phillip Island; and Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) won the first round at Hockenheim and Brands Hatch.
In the World Supersport Championship, James Whitham (Yamaha Belgarda-Michelin Pilot) won at Phillip Island; Paolo Casoli (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin Pilot) won at Monza and Brands Hatch; and Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin Pilot) won at Assen.
500 Grand Prix
Michelin claimed its 250th Grand Prix success story this year, with Alex Crivillé (Repsol YPF Honda-Michelin) in the French Grand Prix event, before going on to claim seven further victories, culminating with number 257 at the Portuguese Grand Prix thanks to Garry Mc Coy (Red Bull Yamaha WCM-Michelin).
Endurance, motocross and trial
In the World Endurance Championship, Costes/Charpentier/Gimbert (Honda-Michelin) won the 24-Hours Le Mans event, with Deletang/Foret/Willis (Yamaha-Michelin) following their excellent example at the 24-Hours Liège event.
In motocross racing, the winner of the 125cc Italian Grand Prix was Traversini (Husqvarna-Michelin) ahead of Séguy (Yamaha-Michelin), while Federici (Yamaha-Michelin) won the 250cc Slovakian Grand Prix. Last Week, Mike Brown (Honda-Michelin) won the 125cc German Grand Prix. In 250cc category, Pitt Beirer (Kawasaki-Michelin) won the Swiss Grand Prix ahead of Michaël Mashio (Kawasaki-Michelin) and Claudio Federici (Yamaha-Michelin).
Doug Lampkin (Montesa-Honda) won the World Trial Championship for the fourth time running.
McRae/Grist (Ford-Michelin) won the Catalonia Rally and the Acropolis, while Mäkinen/Mannisenmaki (Mitsubishi-Michelin) won in Monte Carlo and Grönholm/Rautiainen (Peugeot-Michelin) in Sweden, New Zealand and Finland.
Le Mans 24-hours and FIA-GT
In the 24-Hours Le Mans event, the top nine teams were using Michelins, including the winning team of Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi-Michelin). In FIA-GT, Bailey/Campbell/Walter (Lister Storm-Michelin) won at Valencia, Estoril, Silverstone and Zolder. Hezemans-Hart (Chrysler Viper GTS R-Michelin) won the Monza event and Hezemans-Coronel (Chrysler Viper GTS R-Michelin) won at Spielberg.
Winners at the 12-hour Sebring event were Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi-Michelin) (general) and Beretta/Wendlinger/Dupuy (Dodge Viper GTS R-Michelin) (GTS), and the Viper team also won the 24-hour Daytona event. Lehto/Müller (BMW V12 LMR-Michelin) won the American Le Mans Series at Charlotte (USA) and Silverstone (UK), Brabham/Magnussen (Panoz-Michelin) won at Nürburgring, and McNish/Capello (Audi Michelin) won at Sears Point and Mosport. As for Pirro-Biela (Audi-Michelin), they won at Fort Worth, Texas.
<pre> Official Michelin Superbike runners
1 Carl Fogarty (GBR) Injured and temporarly replaced by 21 Troy Bayliss (AUS) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 2 Colin Edwards (USA) Honda Castrol Honda 10 Vittoriano Guareschi (ITA) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda WSBK Team 13 Andreas Meklau (AUT) Ducati Gerin WSBK Team 19 Juan Borja (SPA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 20 Doriano Romboni (ITA) Ducati Team R&D Bieffe 33 Robert Ulm (AUT) Ducati Gerin WSBK Team 111 Aaron Slight (NZL) Honda Castrol Honda 155 Ben Bostrom (USA) Ducati Team Ducati NCR
Official Michelin Supersport runners
5 Ruben Xaus (SPA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 8 Cristiano Migliorati (ITA) Suzuki Team Metalsistem Endoug Suzuki 9 Wilco Zeelenberg (NED) Yamaha Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team 10 William Costes (FRA) Honda Team Honda France Elf 15 Paolo Casoli (ITA) Ducati Ducati Infostrada 16 Sébastien Charpentier (FRA) Honda Team Honda France Elf 17 Pere Riba (SPA) Honda Castrol Honda 18 Vittoriano Iannuzzo (ITA) Yamaha Team Lorenzini by Leoni 19 Walter Tortoroglio (ITA) Ducati DFX Racing 20 Karl Harris (GBR) Suzuki Team Metalsistem Endoug Suzuki 21 Massimo Meregalli (ITA) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda 25 Igor Jerman (SLO) Ducati TDC Desenzano Corse 27 Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Honda Castrol Honda 29 Christer Lindholm (SWE) Yamaha Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team 34 Yves Briguet (SWI) Ducati DFX Racing 69 James Whitham (GBR) Yamaha Yamaha Belgarda