MotoGP rookie and Laguna Seca first-timer Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) rode a superb race to finish today's United States Grand Prix in fourth place, just ahead of fellow Michelin men Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda ...
MotoGP rookie and Laguna Seca first-timer Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) rode a superb race to finish today's United States Grand Prix in fourth place, just ahead of fellow Michelin men Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin).
Laguna is rated to be the hardest MotoGP track to learn but Dovizioso did a superb job of unlocking its secrets to allow him to equal his best MotoGP result. Michelin's fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place result completed a challenging weekend for the French tyre brand.
"The starting point of our difficulties this weekend was the problems we had last year, when the track was more aggressive and the track temperature higher than expected, which gave us wear problems," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing.
"This year the track was much less aggressive. Also, the track temperature was lower than last year, but in fact not so bad because we saw the high 40s on Friday. Based on last year's situation we were too conservative, with too-hard constructions and compounds which gave reduced performance. Our riders had only a limited supply of tyres they could use for the race, so they had to work with harder tyres during practice. It's been a really difficult weekend because our approach was far too conservative. From now on we have to share more our tyre strategy and allocation strategy with the teams. For example, Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) requested some fronts for this race which he had already used this year at less demanding tracks. He could have used those tyres here, so he was right. On a positive note, it was great to see Andrea fighting with Nicky for fourth, that was a very impressive result for a Laguna Seca newcomer and showed his impressive strengths. Randy also rode a good race. He used an even harder rear tyre than the others and he found a good machine set-up. But obviously we aren't happy with our riders' lap times here, because we didn't give them enough grip."
Michelin now plans an aggressive development programme before the next MotoGP event in the Czech Republic on August 15/16/17. That race will see the return of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) who withdrew from this weekend's event due to the injuries he sustained when he crashed while leading last Sunday's German GP. Until that point Pedrosa had been leading the World Championship.
"Looking at today's result we can say that we weren't ambitious enough because of what happened last year at this track," Michelin competitions director Frederic Henry-Biabaud. "We didn't want the same problem this time, so we recommended a very conservative direction to our teams. It was a mistake from which we have learned. Over the next three weeks we will therefore work in two directions. First, we will organise tests at several tracks. Second, we will continue developing some new solutions that we already have under development and which we will recommend to our teams for the next races, representing a more ambitious di rection. We will also evolve the way we recommend tyre solutions to our teams, because this way we can deliver better performance. The season is far from over and we look forward to the last seven races after some very positive races already this year. Dani was leading the championship going into last weekend's German GP where he also led the race. It was very sad that he got hurt when he fell, but he made the correct decision not to race here, considering his injuries. It's also a great shame that Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) has suffered some injuries after his fantastic start to the season. Now we have to keep working hard, in fact we have to work even harder. We will certainly do everything we can to deliver more performance to our teams."