Japanese GP: Michelin preview

MICHELIN KEEPS WORKING TO BUILD ON PORTUGUESE GP WIN Michelin's MotoGP crew joins the rest of the MotoGP paddock in dashing from Portugal to Japan this week, boosted by a brilliant one-two finish at Estoril last Sunday. Valentino Rossi (Fiat ...

MICHELIN KEEPS WORKING TO BUILD ON PORTUGUESE GP WIN

Michelin's MotoGP crew joins the rest of the MotoGP paddock in dashing from Portugal to Japan this week, boosted by a brilliant one-two finish at Estoril last Sunday. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) dominated the race, while fourth-place finisher Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) took pole position and the lap record.

The Portuguese GP success was a well-deserved reward for the intense development work undertaken by Michelin's technicians in recent months. Now Michelin is working to build on that performance, refining a new profile front tyre and new construction rear, both of which should feature at Motegi this weekend.

MICHELIN AND THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE OF MOTEGI

There are two recently introduced tyres within Michelin's tyre consignment at Motegi. The new profile 16-inch front slick, which was first used by Michelin's MotoGP riders during last month's post-Czech GP tests at Brno, scored its maiden victory at Estoril. The new construction 16.5-inch rear slick (the fourth generation of a new tyre first introduced in April), which was first tried during post-San Marino GP tests at Misano earlier this month, has also generated positive feedback from Rossi and other Michelin riders, though Rossi didn't use the tyre at Estoril because the compounds available with the 'old' construction rear were better suited to the conditions. At Motegi riders will once again be able to choose new or 'old' profile fronts and new or 'old' construction rears within their weekend allocation of 31 tyres.

"Motegi will be a very interesting weekend for us," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "At least half our rear tyres at Motegi will be of the new construction, so we hope that our riders will be able to use the new tyre, though that will once again depend on which compounds are best suited to the conditions. We have got some very positive feedback about this construction, both from the Misano tests and Estoril practice sessions. The tyre gives a better feeling which gives the rider more confidence, so he can be more aggressive with the bike. The tyre delivers more edge grip because it is more stable at maximum lean. It also delivers better traction out of the corners, which allows riders to get on the throttle sooner and harder out of the corners.

"Traction is particularly important at Motegi because most of the corners are fairly slow and short, and several of these turns lead onto reasonably long straights, so riders need to get on the throttle hard and fast if they are to be competitive. So we are really looking forward to seeing how the new construction works at this track.

"We have also been working on both construction and compound to improve warm-up performance and we have found some interesting directions which have delivered improvements. Dani was very fast from the opening laps at Estoril, so we will keep working in that direction.

"After Vale's win with the new profile front it will be interesting to see how many of our riders put this tyre in their allocation at Motegi. The new profile gives good feeling and is good during braking into corners, which is important at Motegi because the track features some of the heaviest braking of the season."

MOTEGI DATA
Lap record: Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 1m 47.288s, 161.095km/h-100.100mph

Pole position 2006: Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 1m 45.724s

-credit: michelin

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team