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Michelin, over 30 years in MotoGP – Part 1

Michelin, over 30 years in MotoGP – Part 1

Michelin, over 30 years in MotoGP – Part 1

Michelin made its Grand Prix debut back in the early seventies. The rounded profile of the PZ tyre – a road tyre offering a contact patch larger than its competitors – gave an immediate advantage to its riders, who were able to enjoy higher grip levels.

Aussie rider Jack Findlay (Suzuki TR500), was the first rider to win a Grand Prix on a Michelin-shod bike. It was in 1973, at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, which was then the British round of the World Championship.

In 1976 the late Barry Sheene (Texaco Heron Team Suzuki) won the first 500cc World Title for Michelin. The next year, the French manufacturer went on to clock an impressive series of wins in the 50, 125, 250, 350 and 500cc classes, with Sheene retaining his crown in the premier class. In 1975 Michelin introduced the first slick tyres, a major breakthrough for motorcycle racing.

"At the beginning we didn't realize that the slick tyres were such a revolution because we didn't know how to make the most of them," explained the late Barry Sheene a couple of years ago, before his death in 2003. "I remember that I thought: ‘Wouldn't they be better with nice grooves?' I didn't understand parameters like the tyre temperature and such, but something was clear: we were entering a new era…"

Tomorrow motogp.com will bring you the second part in the Michelin series: the eighties and the domination of the radial tyres.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005

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