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Michelin's American tales

Michelin's American tales

With the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix almost upon us, the American riders on the MotoGP grid will all be preparing vigilantly this week as they go in search of a good result at their home Grand Prix.

With the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix almost upon us, the American riders on the MotoGP grid will all be preparing vigilantly this week as they go in search of a good result at their home Grand Prix.

For US riders Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) and Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha), from Kentucky and Texas respectively, Sunday's race at Sachsenring provided an ideal confidence booster as they both came home in good positions. Hayden was third and Edwards fourth, in part due to the strong performances of their Michelin compounds in the second half of the race.

At the conclusion of the action in Germany both riders specifically thanked Michelin for their efforts and that German success was just the latest chapter in a long story of healthy relationships between American riders and the French tyre manufacturers.

Indeed when Hayden last year rode to glory on Michelin tyres he became the latest in a prestigious line of US competitors to have won the World Championship on the French firm's rubber.

Six riders from the USA have won a total of ten 500cc/MotoGP titles with Michelin tyres over the past quarter of a century:
- Freddie Spencer (Honda-Michelin 1983 & 1985)
- Eddie Lawson (Yamaha-Michelin 1986 & 1988), (Honda-Michelin 1989)
- Wayne Rainey (Yamaha-Michelin 1990 & 1992)
- Kevin Schwantz (Suzuki-Michelin 1993)
- Kenny Roberts Junior (Suzuki-Michelin 2000)
- Nicky Hayden (Honda-Michelin 2006)

The first member of Michelin's American winners club was Freddie Spencer, who won the 1983 500cc title on Honda's first two-stroke GP bike, the NS500 triple, then followed that up with his 1985 success on the company's NSR500 V4. Spencer later played a significant role in the developments of the USA's most recent World Champion, Hayden.

The Kentucky Kid still regularly visits Spencer's High Performance Riding School facility to stay race prepared and take advice from the former World Champion. Hayden explains: "Normally I always go down to Freddie's facility to ride during the winter and sometimes I ride there during the summer break too. I always talk to Freddie every few months because he does understand the riding side of things."

Hayden has been on Michelin tyres since his MotoGP debut in 2003, and despite not having the best of luck so far in his title defence season he appears to be pretty content with the service provided by his compound suppliers: commenting: "Michelin don't win all these races and world titles by being lucky, they put in the work and take the information from the riders."

"We've seen a lot of improvements since I first came to MotoGP, like the bigger front we used last year, the 16 in front which we're using this year and the wider profile rears. I just really like the grip, the handling and the consistency the tyres give to me."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX

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