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Michelin after another home win in France

Michelin after another home win in France

Michelin after another home win in France

French tyre giant Michelin took victory for the 325th time two weeks ago in Shanghai for the historic Chinese GP and will follow on this weekend with a dominating presence at Le Mans for the Grand Prix Alice de France.

With an extra special record in MotoGP, the Clermont-Ferrand brand has won 22 of the last 24 premier- class World Championships, including an unbeaten run of the last 13 titles.

Michelin's success on home tarmac has been similarly impressive, with victory in all but seven of the last 31 French GPs, going back to the days when the French round of the World Championships was staged around the daunting Charade street circuit, just a few kilometres from the front door of Michelin's Clermont-Ferrand HQ.

Michelin never did win the premier-class on its Charade doorstep. At the time the company was taking its first steps into GPs when the daunting street circuit was deemed too dangerous for GP and the event was relocated.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director, looks back at on his experiences of two-tyre racing.

"I remember watching Geoff Duke and John Surtees, dreaming about getting involved in racing, but only dreaming, with no real hope of it happening," says Dupasquier." "Instead I use to ride everywhere on my bike, to Finland, to Turkey, to Dakar. I loved riding, I crashed many times trying to go fast but I never thought I'd get involved in racing."

Dupasquier, 67, first joined Michelin in the early 60s and became fully involved in the company's race efforts in 1973, just before Charade was struck from the GP calendar.

"It was an absolutely marvellous circuit, like a mini Nurburging," he recalls. "It was in the hills, so it was uphill, downhill, blind crests, amazing, but also very dangerous.

"I remember the last few GPs there, giving our new PZ2 tyres to Christian Bourgeois, who was one of the first riders to start going really fast with our tyres. The PZ was just a road tyre; the PZ2 was the same tyre with a softer compound for racing. But these were the tyres that started us on the road to the success that we enjoy today."


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