Qatari GP: Michelin race notes

Michelin Men Rossi & Pedrosa On Losail Podium Michelin riders Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) took second- and third-place results in today's season-opening Qatar GP, the ...

Michelin Men Rossi & Pedrosa On Losail Podium

Michelin riders Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin) took second- and third-place results in today's season-opening Qatar GP, the first 800cc MotoGP race. Former MotoGP World Champion Rossi spent the whole race involved in an enthralling duel with Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP7) but finally had to settle for second, while Pedrosa won his contest with John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) for the final place on the podium.

"We are happy with how our tyres worked," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "Valentino was very fast in the corners, and even with 15km/h less on the straights he was always right with Stoner, which made it an exciting race. Valentino rode aggressively, we had very good edge grip which remained consistent throughout. This was also the first race with our 16in front and everyone was happy with the tyre's handling and grip. Valentino made a very good tyre choice while Dani chose slightly softer rear, a medium tyre. This is normal because he puts less stress into the tyres but he lost a little in the later stages."

Weber pronounced himself happy with the first MotoGP event to be run under new technical regulations which limit riders to 14 front slicks and 17 rear slicks per weekend. The new rules have a major effect on how riders, teams and tyre companies work through practice and qualifying towards the race, placing a greater emphasis on strategy.

"The system worked smoothly, and despite the new limitations all our riders got the tyres they needed for the race," Weber added. "But we will have to wait a little longer to see how the system works at other races, especially at tracks where we've not tested and where weather conditions are less predictable than they are here."

Rossi was happy enough with second, since he started last season with a 14th place result at Jerez, after being knocked down at the first turn. "My bike was very good in the corners, better than Casey's, but we lost too much on the straights," he said. "The pace was very fast, my bike had a very good balance and we made a great tyre choice with Michelin."

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , John Hopkins , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team