MICHELIN MEN SHINE IN COOL, MOIST NIGHT TEST Michelin riders completed MotoGP's first-ever night-time test session on top in Qatar on Friday and Saturday, with rookies Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat-Yamaha Team-Michelin) and James Toseland (Yamaha Tech ...
MICHELIN MEN SHINE IN COOL, MOIST NIGHT TEST
Michelin riders completed MotoGP's first-ever night-time test session on top in Qatar on Friday and Saturday, with rookies Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat-Yamaha Team-Michelin) and James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) first and second fastest, just ahead of established MotoGP star Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin). Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin), Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) confirmed Michelin's strength in depth by setting the fifth, sixth and seventh fastest times.
Conditions were tricky -- with a cool and moist track surface -- which highlighted the recent progress made by Michelin in tyre warm-up and operating temperature range.
"The tests were certainly different," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "Fortunately the track wasn't so bad when we started the tests, because we were a little concerned about sand blown on to the surface. During the tests we had to deal with track temperature falling as the evening went on. To start with the temperature was about 23 or 24 degrees, but by the end of the session at midnight it had cooled to only 18 degrees. Also, the moisture level changed a lot. At the start of the evening the air was quite dry but as the air cooled the moisture level went up to around 75 per cent which is very high. This means that when the race starts on Sunday the track could be quite moist, which obviously isn't so good for tyre performance. But our tyres worked well in the conditions and we are happy with the results. In these conditions you need tyres that work well at lower temperatures and I think we've done quite a good job in this area. Last year we weren't so fast in cool conditions but this time our riders' lap times were good, which suggests that the work we've been doing on warm-up and operating range has been successful. The Losail tests were a confirmation of all the work we've done in order to be competitive in all conditions.
"Following the tests we are making more tyres at Clermont-Ferrand to specifically suit the conditions. About 30 per cent of the tyres we'll have at Losail this Thursday will have been made since the tests."