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Michelin confident ahead of Valencian challenge

Michelin confident ahead of Valencian challenge

Although most of the tyre-related intrigue at the final race of 2007 will be centred on off-track activity, the MotoGP manufacturers can not afford to take their eye off the ball in their quest for a final Grand Prix victory of the season.

Although most of the tyre-related intrigue at the final race of 2007 will be centred on off-track activity - namely the Grand Prix Commission's ongoing discussions about amendments to the current regulations - the MotoGP manufacturers can not afford to take their eye off the ball in their quest for a final Grand Prix victory of the season.

Valencia is one of the hardest tracks on the calendar for which to provide rubber, due to its unique and asymmetrical design, as Michelin's Jean-Philippe Weber explains.

"Valencia is quite tough on tyres, it's especially demanding on the left side. It is also a very tight and twisty circuit, so it's important to have a good balance between easy handling and tyres that can cope with the stress, especially on the left side," says the Michelin man. "The difference in compounds on the left and right side of the tyres is quite big, rather like Phillip Island, because you need quite a hard solution for all the left-handers, especially the long, fast left at the end of the lap, and a softer solution, with good warm-up, for the right side, because there aren't so many right-handers."

Despite any possible difficulties, Michelin are hoping that Valencia can end the 2007 season on a high as the culmination of a recent bout of intensive development. At the forefront of this has been 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, who has been at the head of progression with the French company's 16" rear tyre.

"We are confident that our latest profiles and constructions will also work there after our top riders managed quite strong performances at Sepang, which showed we are working in the right direction," says Weber. "Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi were both very fast at Sepang and Nicky Hayden was also very quick. We hope that a good result at Valencia will confirm our recent development work.

"The tyres we use at Valencia will be the same basic spec as we've used at the last few races, adjusted to suit the particular demands of this track. Our current 16.5-inch rear is the fourth generation of a construction we first used in April. It offers good edge grip and acceleration traction, which are both extremely important at Valencia because riders spend so much time banked over through the curves. Nicky used our new 16-inch rear slick at the last two races and we expect to continue working with him and the 16 at Valencia."

Whilst a large section of the paddock will be packed away following the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana, Michelin will continue work alongside the teams staying on to test their 2008 machines. There will also be something new for the riders to try out.

"Valencia is also quite tough on the front tyre, because there is so much turning involved. We have three types of 16-inch front tyre at the moment, but we will only be working with the first two of these at Valencia. Riders like to use a front tyre that they know very well, so we will only start working on the third front when off-season testing begins at Valencia on the Tuesday after the race."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

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