Michelin tyre test – What’s happening?

We’ve just got off the phone to Nicolas Goubert, the technical director for Michelin motorsport. He gave us the lowdown on the tyres that four riders had similar high speed crashes on in Sepang yesterday.

“We took four fronts and three rears to Sepang. The fronts all had the same compound but different profiles and casing construction. The rears had the same construction but different compounds. Test sessions are called test sessions for a reason, we needed to check that our tyres were heading in the right direction and also to verify what our test riders were saying in comparison to what racers say. All of the racers unanimously went for the front tyre with a larger profile and the same rear tyre. The crashes occurred because there was so much rear grip that when the racers tried to find the limit of grip at the back, they used all of the available front grip. We’ll take all of the tyres we’ve tested away and check the durability of the casing and then we can tweak from there. This may appear to be a disaster but the feedback from all of the riders has been great and it’s better that this happens out of season during a test, which is exactly what we were doing. It’s been a long time since Michelin was in the MotoGP paddock. Circuits and bikes have changed, so we’re planning on testing after every round at every circuit to help build a positive platform.”

Keep up to speed with Michelin here

I think the key point to note here is the fact that this was a tyre test day, not the second half of a race. Tyres need to be pushed as much as possible in order that they can be built to withstand everything that is asked of them. The fact that the racers all picked the same combination of tyres is a real plus point. The fact that the racers all agreed with the feedback that Colin Edwards and the other test riders had given is another plus point. This isn’t Michelin’s first rodeo, they’ll be working on this non stop to make sure that everything is on the money for round one.

Words: @johnatsuperbike Image: Yamaha