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First blood to Michelin in the battle for tyre supremacy

First blood to Michelin in the battle for tyre supremacy

First blood to Michelin in the battle for tyre supremacy

After a winter of uncertainty the 2002 MotoGP World Championship got underway last weekend with the familiar sight of Valentino Rossi crossing the line first on his Michelin-shod Honda. The French tyre manufacturer faces a new challenge this season with the arrival of Dunlop and Bridgestone to the top category, but they passed the first test with flying colours at the slippery Suzuka circuit.

`It was a very exciting but very tiring race for us,´ said Michelin Grand Prix manager Emmanuel Fournier, whose firm was also represented on the podium by Yamaha rider Carlos Checa in third behind the Suzuki of Akira Ryo on Dunlops. `We are happy to have some competition this year, it makes the emotion of winning all the greater. But I think the best thing about the race was having three different makes of bike on the podium, that´s great for interest in the MotoGP championship.´

Fournier also explained one of the reasons why Rossi looked so comfortable despite the treacherous wet conditions. `Valentino used an S2 profile rear wet, like he used on his 500 last year, so he was familiar with this tyre. We don´t plan to create a rain version of our new 16.5 because the profile is designed for cooler running, which isn´t necessarily what you´re trying to achieve with rain tyres. But he did use a new front, with new compound and tread pattern.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2002

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