MICHELIN: `WE SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN SOFTER TYRES' Michelin riders Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) finished fourth and sixth in today's rain-lashed French GP at Le Mans to ...
MICHELIN: `WE SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN SOFTER TYRES'
Michelin riders Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) finished fourth and sixth in today's rain-lashed French GP at Le Mans to maintain their third and second positions in the 2007 MotoGP points chase.
The race started in drizzly conditions, with all riders using slick tyres, but after nine of the 28 laps heavy rain began to fall and riders rode into the pits to change to their number-two bikes fitted with rain tyres. Rossi had led the early stages of the race but was unable to run up front in the rain, which increased in intensity with every lap, the opposite of what Michelin had forecast.
"After the race it's easy to say that we chose too-hard tyres for most of our riders for the rain," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "It's always a gamble, at Phillip Island last year when we had the first GP with mid- race tyre changes we chose very well and won the race. Of course, you never really know what the weather's going to do but we now know that we should have chosen softer rear tyres for most of our guys. We definitely didn't expect such heavy rain, we had guessed there would be lighter rainfall, so most of our riders used medium-range rears which weren't the best for the waterlogged track. That's why Valentino had to take wider lines into the corners, which allowed several riders to pass him. Dani chose a softer rear, because he usually uses softer tyres, and although he isn't very confident in the wet he was able to ride pretty fast today.
"It's a shame because I think we could have had a very good race if the conditions had stayed dry. Valentino and Dani came on very strong at the start, they were fighting up front, Nicky (Hayden, Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) was also riding wonderfully in the dry, Carlos (Checa, Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) too, until he made a mistake when there were so many riders fighting close together and fell. It's been a difficult day but this year's championship is very long. The level of competition is very high at the moment, which is great for the sport, and we look forward to fighting for the win again."