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Michelin keeping up with the 4 stroke revolution

Michelin keeping up with the 4 stroke revolution

Michelin keeping up with the 4 stroke revolution

Over the past year Michelin have collaborated with Honda and Yamaha on the development of tyres for the new generation of 4 stroke Grand Prix motorcycles. The challenge represents an important new step for the French brand as they attempt to get to grips with the performance and demands of the 990cc machines.

The company, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, have used their experience in other 4 stroke competitions to create the new rubber. ´The 4 stroke tyre is a continuation of the 16.5 inch concept,´ explains Nicolas Goubert, chief of Michelin´s racing department. ´We started development using the same 16.5 inch rim size but the 4 stroke has a larger centre diamteter, giving a different profile to increase the contact patch and thus reduce running temperature. The new profile also offers improved edge grip, because the 4 strokes have more torque available when the riders start to open the throttle at full lean, and more traction, because you need a lot of acceleration grip if you´ve got 240 or 250 horsepower.´


The men from Michelin Sport are facing a particularly busy 2002. Development of the new product is a long process and will have to continually adapt to the parallel advances made by Honda and Yamaha. ´It is an exciting and very busy time for us,´ continues Goubert. ´We are trying to look as far ahead as possible because we know that these factories are capable of creating even more powerful engines soon.´

Unbeaten in the top class since 1992, Michelin this year face competition from Dunlop, who will be providing for Suzuki and Aprilia, and newcomers Bridgestone, who make their debut in the series with the Kanemoto Racing Honda NSR500 and Proton Team KR.

MotoGP, 2002

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