Michelin Kyalami preview

Superbike World Championship Round 2: Kyalami (South Africa) - April 1st 2001 Michelin frequently competitive at Kyalami From the six Superbike World Championship races that Kyalami has hosted, Michelin has claimed three wins: in 1998 with ...

Superbike World Championship
Round 2: Kyalami (South Africa) - April 1st 2001

Michelin frequently competitive at Kyalami
From the six Superbike World Championship races that Kyalami has hosted, Michelin has claimed three wins: in 1998 with Pierfransco Chili (Ducati-Michelin), in 1999 with Carl Fogarty (Ducati-Michelin) and last year with Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin).

Making its SBK debut in South Africa in the hands of Colin Edwards, the Castrol Honda VTR 1000 SPW-Michelin won the 2000 season's curtain-raiser at Kyalami. The American rider, who made maximum use of his 16_" front tyre, performed a memorable outbraking in the final lap to take the laurels for Honda's new two-cyclinder bike. Not long afterwards, the VTR 1000 SPW was back in the motorcycling headlines when it won the celebrated Le Mans 24 Hours. The common demoninator between the two successes was of course that both were achieved on Michelin tyres.

Three of the four fastest riders at Valencia
The opening round of the 2001 championship at Valencia (Spain) on March 11th saw three Michelin runners amongst the weekend's four fastest riders. Over the course of the three days of practice and racing, Troy Corser (Aprilia Axo) was the fastest man on the track with a lap of 1m 35s504, but he was closely tailed by Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) with a time of 1m 35s830, Ruben's teammate Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) on 1m 35s957 and Tadayuki Okada (Castrol Honda-Michelin) who set a lap of 1m 36s086. These performances take on added significance when you realise that Valencia was the first ever Superbike World Championship outing for both Xaus and Okada.

Troy Bayliss finished each of the meeting's two races in second position to move into second place in the provisional championship standings. "The bike was excellent and my Michelins worked very well," said the Australian. "I am quite happy with the result. It was a positive weekend and I feel much stronger than last year. The championship is long and it will be important to score vital points to be able to fight for the title."

<pre> Provisional 2001 SBK World Championship positions:

Pos. Riders Bikes       Pt
1 T.  Corser Aprilia    50
2 T.  Bayliss Ducati    40
3 G.  Lavilla Kawasaki  27
4 C.  Edwards Honda     23
5 A.  Yanagawa Kawasaki 18
6 P.  Chili Suzuki      18
7 B.  Bostrom Ducati    16
8 R.  Laconi Aprilia    13
9 S.  Chambon Suzuki    12
10 N. Hodgson Ducati    11
11 R. Xaus Ducati       8
12 M. Borciani Ducati   8
13 H. Izutsu Kawasaki   7
14 J. Toseland Ducati   7
15 S. Martin Ducati     5
16 L. Pedercini Ducati  5
17 R. Ulm Ducati        4
18 J. Borja Yamaha      4
19 B. Parkes Ducati     3
20 J. Rodriguez Honda   1

Points scoring system:

1st 25 points 2nd 20 3rd 16 4th 13 5th 11 6th 10 7th 9 8th 8 9th 7 10th 6 11th 5 12th 4 13th 3 14th 2 15th 1

</pre> Bayliss pleased with winter testing at Kyalami
The official International SBK tests organised at Kyalami on January 29th/30th/31st and on February 1st saw Troy Bayliss put in an excellent second fastest time behind Neil Hodgson (Ducati GSE Racing): "I am really pleased with the race simulation we did," said Troy Bayliss. "It confirmed the excellent quality of the material we were testing and I felt really good on the bike. I kept up a good pace with times that were lower than the best laps in last year's race. These results demonstrate that everyone has worked really well. Michelin gave us some excellent tyres, both for the race and qualifying, and this was demonstrated by the time I set."

<pre> Kyalami test times:

1, Neil Hodgson (GSE Ducati Racing) 1m 41s477 2, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 1m 41s904 3, Troy Corser (Axo Aprilia Team) 1m 42s067 4, Ben Bostrom (Ducati Infostrada) 1m 42s290 5, Pierfrancesco Chili (Alstare Corona Suzuki) 1m 42s347 6, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) 1m 42s391 7, Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) 1m 43s227 8, Tadayuki Okada (Castrol Honda-Michelin) 1m 43s244 9, Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1m 43s404 10, Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1m 43s512 11, Stephan Chambon (Alstare Corona Suzuki) 1m 43s689 12, Régis Laconi (Axo Aprilia Team) 1m 43s727 13, James Toseland (GSE Ducati Racing) 1m 44s383 14, Juan Borja (Panavto Yamaha-Michelin) 1m 47s007

</pre> Kyalami and tyres
Inaugurated in 1961, Kyalami hosted its first F1 Grand Prix in 1967. The track was modified in 1987, then again in 1991. Circuit length is 4.263 km, while its width at its narrowest part is 13 metres. The profile is very undulating with a large number of climbs and descents (steepest incline: 8.8%). The start-finish straight is 470 metres long.

The South African venue is located at an altitude of 1,500 metres, and the thin air is of course counter-productive to engine performlance. But the main feature of this track is its big variety of corners, ranging from slow speed turns with a radius of 15 metres to the fastest corner which has a radius of 162.485 metres. Meanwhile, many corners have a marked camber which, added to the circuit's hilly profile, makes Kyalami extremely challenging.

"Kyalami is a circuit that doesn't really have any outstanding features, unlike venues such as Welkom, where Garry MacCoy (Yamaha Red Bull-Michelin) won last year's 500cc Grand Prix, and Phillip Island where the next round of the 2001 Superike World Championship will be held. Tyre wear at Kyalami is symmetrical," explains Michelin's Superbike programme Manager Jean Hérissé.

"During our winter tests here we had an equation with two unknowns to resolve because of track changes and evolutions to the bikes. Honda, for example, has replaced the RC 45 with the VTR 1000 SPW. Happily, we were able to get in a lot of laps in the January test session which was very positive for the development of both our race and qualifying tyres."

Tyre numbers and staffing
Michelin will have a total of 1,100 dry- and wet-weather tyres for the South African race. Four dimensions are available for the Superbike runners: 18/67x17 (17") and 19/67x420 (16_") for the rear (slicks, rain tyres and intermediates), plus 12/60x17 (17") and 12/60x420 (16_") for the front. There will be a total of 800 dry-weather tyres, 200 rain tyres and 100 intermediate tyres. This year, there is no Supersport World Championship round at Kyalami. Michelin will have a total staff of eleven at the race (manager, two technicians, seven fitters and a press officer).

<pre> Michelin's partners Superbike

DUCATI Team: InfoStrada Ducati  T. Bayliss - R. Xaus
HONDA Team:  Castrol Honda C. Edwards -  T. Okada


Benchmark lap times (Kyalami) Superbikes:

Fastest qualifying practice time in 2000: 1m 42s820, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin). Average speed: 149.259 kph

Superpole time in 2000: 1m 42s471, Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing). Average speed: 149.767 kph

Fastest race lap in 2000: 1m 43s224, Carl Fogarty (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin). Average speed: 148.675 kph (Lap 5, Race 1).

Results of the first race in 2000: 1, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin), 25 laps (106.575 km) in 43m 21s141 (average speed: 147.501 kph 2, Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK) + 0s133 3, Carl Fogarty (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin) + 0s225 4, Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing) + 7s847 5, Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki Alstare) + 10s012

Results of the second race in 2000: 1, Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha WSBK), 25 laps (106.575 km) in 43m 22s756 (average speed: 147.409 kph 2, Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin) + 6s482 3, Pierfrancesco Chili (Suzuki Alstare) + 11s967 4, Troy Corser (Aprilia Racing) + 16s974 5, Haruchika Aoki (Team R&D Bieffe Ducati-Michelin) + 30s232 6, Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki Racing) + 33s596

Note: The points scored by Noriyuki Haga in the second race were taken away by the Sport's Arbitration Tribunal on October 12th 2000. Colin Edwards was declared winner of the second race ahead of Pierfrancesco Chili, etc.

Follow Round 3 of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Australia (April 22nd) with www.michelinsport.com


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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Noriyuki Haga , Neil Hodgson , Gregorio Lavilla , Ruben Xaus , James Toseland , Haruchika Aoki , Troy Corser , Carl Fogarty , Juan Borja , Akira Yanagawa , Laconi Régis , Ben Bostrom , Phillip Island