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Michelin hail 16.5inch success

Michelin hail 16.5inch success

Michelin hail 16.5inch success

The record-breaking race at Welkom on Sunday proved beyond doubt that, as well as the continuing evolution of the 990cc MotoGP prototype machines, which has seen lap records fall at virtually every round since their inauguration in 2002, the approval of Michelin's new 16.5inch front tyre by the majority of the MotoGP field had been a roaring success.

The top five riders across the line on Sunday all used the new tyre, with Max Biaggi's quickest lap of the race some 0.643 seconds inside Sete Gibernau's previous lap record. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi's winning race time outdid that of the Spaniard's 2003 victory by an incredible 20 seconds, meaning the Welkom race pace has been dropped by a massive 73 seconds over the last four seasons.

Michelin's chief of motorcycling competitions Nicolas Goubert was delighted with the progress. "That was a fantastic race which suggests that we are in for a very interesting season," said Goubert. "We're delighted with the performance of our 16.5 front, with which the riders were really happy.

"The rear also worked really well, thanks to the new profile it showed very good wear. I think the fact that Max's new lap record, set on the last lap, was just three hundredths off last year's pole time says it all."

MotoGP, 2004

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