A number of MotoGP factory riders have stayed at Mugello following Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix to test Michelin’s 2016 tyres.
The French marque replaces Bridgestone as the championship’s official tyre supplier from next season onwards, riders having their first taste of the new rubber during February’s second Sepang pre-season test.
Now Michelin has brought four types of front tyre and three rears to be evaluated at Mugello, where Honda and Yamaha each have their two factory riders in attendance.
Ducati's Andrea Iannone, fresh from his best ever MotoGP finish on Sunday with second, has opted to sit out the test to allow his injured shoulder more recovery time, with test rider Michele Pirro taking his place.
"We came here two weeks ago with the test riders to get ready for this test," said Michelin technical director Nicolas Goubert, "and here we are in the second test with the top riders, something which is going to be very important for us, because the feedback they give us is key to their success.
“You really have to have the right guys, the ones that are going to be on new tyres next year, to tell us what they want, what they need, and what they will feel comfortable with.”
Melandri’s Aprilia future in doubt
Alvaro Bautista is also present for Aprilia, but the absence of teammate Marco Melandri, who has suffered a wretched season so far, from the test has prompted speculation he may part ways with the team before the championship reconvenes next weekend at Barcelona.
“Melandri is in a difficult situation,” said Aprilia Racing manager Romano Albesiano. “In Argentina and Jerez he gave us the impression he was improving, but the last two races have been different.
“We know what the situation is and in the next days we will talk in private with him.”