New to here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Michelin, 40 years in MotoGP – Part 2

Michelin, 40 years in MotoGP – Part 2

Michelin, 40 years in MotoGP – Part 2

The eighties saw the beginning of Michelin's domination in the premier class, with five different riders taking eight titles between 1981 and 1989.

Italian riders Marco Lucchinelli (Nava Olio Fiat Suzuki) and Franco Uncini (Gallina Suzuki) were on top, before the American and Australian riders arrived to take over - with the likes of Freddie Spencer (Honda), Eddie Lawson (Marlboro Yamaha) and Wayne Gardner (Rothmans Honda). In 1987, Gardner scored Michelin's 100th win in the premier class.

The eighties were also a decade of an important innovation. Michelin introduced the new radial tyre, which gave a whole new dimension to the handling of the 500cc bikes and became the new standard for road-tyre ranges. Spencer was the first rider to win a race with the Michelin radial tyre, in 1984. Since then, this type of tyre has dominated the category.

"With the rear radial tyre we gained a lot of grip and the bike became much more stable in high-speed corners," says Spencer. "That's what impressed me at first. We had no problem making the rear tyre work perfectly once we reinforced the swing arm. We spent about half of the 1985 season developing the front radial tyre. After that, I eventually improved my lap times by two seconds. It was incredibly stable under hard braking."

The third part of this look back on Michelin's history will be published next Saturday on

MotoGP, 2005

Other updates you may be interested in ›