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Michelin put faith in new construction for Phillip Island

Michelin put faith in new construction for Phillip Island

Looking to bounce back from their Motegi disappointment, which saw them unable to convert dry qualifying results into a wet race podium, Michelin are preparing for Phillip Island with the continued development of their latest constructions for the likes of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.

Looking to bounce back from their Motegi disappointment, which saw them unable to convert dry qualifying results into a wet race podium, Michelin are preparing for Phillip Island with the continued development of their latest constructions for the likes of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.

The stiffer construction for the 16.5" rear and 16" front tyres has seen an improvement in edge grip and traction, something reflected in improved practice results for the Michelin men. Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing, believes this latest progression could be essential for the testing Phillip Island circuit.

"We are looking forward to seeing how the latest version of our new construction rear works at Phillip Island. All our top riders like this tyre now," explains Weber. " Dani Pedrosa didn't use it at Estoril, when he finished second just behind Valentino, but he did use it at Motegi, where he was fastest in every session. The tyre is better in terms of edge grip and also gives better traction, so the rider can open the throttle sooner. We have also improved the warm-up potential of the tyres in recent months.

"We are confident that the new construction will work well at Phillip Island, though our tyre consignment in Australia will be about two thirds of this tyre and one third of the previous construction, because depending on compound, the ‘old' construction may work better in some conditions."

"We also have two new profile fronts, one which we first gave our riders at the post-Czech GP tests in August, the other which Nicky and Colin Edwards tried for the first time at Motegi. This latest tyre has a slightly different design to give a bigger contact patch and more edge grip, so it should work well through the long corners at Phillip Island, even better than it did at Motegi where the corners are shorter."

Michelin had two riders on the podium in Australia last year, at a track which is extremely demanding for the riders and tyre manufacturers alike.

"Phillip Island is the biggest challenge of the year for the tyre companies," says Weber. "It is a big challenge because the circuit layout is the most demanding on tyres, producing the highest operating temperatures of the MotoGP season. The track is dominated by several fast and long left-handers which riders attack with a lot of speed and a lot of throttle, so the heat build-up in the left side of the tyres is quite big. The corner onto the start finish and the exit of Southern Loop probably put the most heat into the tyres.

"The circuit is also quite asymmetric, with only a few right-handers, so this adds to the challenge, especially since conditions can be quite cold at this time of year, so you also need good warm-up performance, especially on the right side of the tyres and especially in the mornings when conditions are cooler. Finally, the weather can be quite unpredictable, as we saw last year, which further complicates the situation.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

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