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Michelin's Nicolas Goubert talks China and tyres

Michelin's Nicolas Goubert talks China and tyres

Michelin's Nicolas Goubert talks China and tyres

As this Sunday will see the first ever MotoGP World Championship race in China and the Shanghai track has still to be explored, tyre technicians will have there work cut-out trying to pre-judge the track and decide on the most suitable type of tyre for the new track.

Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's Chief of motorcycling competitions, comments on how the number one tyre manufacturer will be taking on this new challenge.

Q: As it is the first time the Championship will be taking place in China, what problems do you think you will encounter? With which elements are you basing your choices on?

A: "When you run on a new circuit, like Shanghai, we begin with a careful analysis of the track. The design itself gives us important data. Shanghai in particular has two very long straights. The starting straight measures 1202 metres, the longest of the entire championship, and is even longer than Mugello's 1140 metre straight and Barcelona's straight, which is 1047 metres long.

"The track is characterized also by two almost 360º turns. These are particularly dangerous for the tyres as they will get very hot at these points.

"We also analysed the possible climatic situation; the temperatures shouldn't be very high. Rain remains a fundamental risk factor. For example, last year Qatar was a new track for us and the stable climatic conditions allowed us to use the four practice sessions in dry weather to the max and, luckily enough, the race was dry too. In China, rain could ruin the work program, leaving very little time to tyre testing."

Q: Being a new track, will you bring a higher number of different types of tyres?

A: "Every time we go to a new circuit we always bring a vast range of tyres compared to what we would bring to an already known track, where we have experience and reference points to use."

Q: Have you sent a technician to study the track conditions?

A: "No, we based ourselves on the design analysis of the track and on the experience of our Formula 1 colleagues."

Q: In what way have you used the Formula 1 experience of this track?

A: "We did a comparative analysis of the data our F1 colleagues gave us. The data they gave us was also useful to understand the type of asphalt of this track and its level of abrasiveness of."

Q: Looking at the Championship, which has just begun, what progress has been made compared to last year and what have you looked to implement?

A: "Compared to 2004, we have made a huge step forward, especially regarding the rear tyre. We have improved the grip on the maximum angle and the traction. Based on the indications of our riders, this is the direction we began looking at during the pre season testing sessions. During the season we must adapt the various compounds of the tyres to the characteristics of the different tracks. Each time we must keep in mind three fundamental factors: the track characteristics, the asphalt conditions and the weather."


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