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Shanghai circuit: a great challenge

Shanghai circuit: a great challenge

Shanghai circuit: a great challenge

China hosted its first MotoGP race last May, its awe-inspiring Shanghai facility dazzling the entire paddock. Everything about the venue is massive, from its 200,000-capacity grandstands to its 340km/h straight. The track itself is shaped like the Chinese character ‘shang', meaning ‘above', the origin of the port city's name, meaning ‘above the ocean'.

Last year at Shanghai Michelin riders took pole position, established the lap record and won the race, also taking five of the top six finishing positions.

`This will be our second time at Shanghai but in some ways it will feel like a first visit because we had so little dry track time last year´, says Michelin motorcycle racing director Nicolas Goubert. `We had just two dry sessions all weekend, so we weren't able to gather much data. But on the positive side, we've got plenty of good data if it rains again! And the surface has good grip in the wet´.

`During those two dry hours last year we did notice that the track is quite demanding on the front, because there's a few long corners, which riders enter at speed with the front brake on. Turn One is more than 300 degrees, which is a bit too much, and then there are Turns 11 and 12, which is in effect another 270 degree right-hander. The tarmac isn't that aggressive, though tyre wear is rather asymmetric, with the right sides having a harder time. "Our 2006 rear should help at Shanghai because it delivers a bigger contact patch through the corners to give riders more sidegrip which really helps in long corners. Our wider profile 2006 front tyre should also help, because it too offers a bigger contact patch, so riders have better grip as they brake deep into corners. This should be very useful at corners like Turn One´.

`But because we've had so little dry track experience at Shanghai it will be a challenge to find the correct compounds for the race. "Most of the riders don't seem to like the Shanghai layout too much, the only place where there's a bit of flow is through turns five, six and seven, otherwise there's lots of stop and start, so it's a bit of a drag race. The two very fast straights aren't really an issue for us, we don't have a problem with heat build-up, but I guess they're great for the guys with fast bikes!´.


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