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Debutants and development characterise Michelin Sepang test

Debutants and development characterise Michelin Sepang test

With a point to prove after relinquishing their World Championship stronghold in 2007, Michelin came back strong in the opening fly-away test of the 2008 preseason.

With a point to prove after relinquishing their World Championship stronghold in 2007, Michelin came back strong in the opening fly-away test of the 2008 preseason.

2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden was the standout performer of the Sepang visit, completing a particularly strong lap on qualifying tyres during the final day of action.

The American was nearly 1.3 seconds inside Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa's pole position time from earlier this year, and set aside some time to work on race tyre solutions in addition to a new rear qualifier. Pedrosa missed the test, but will return to riding later this month in Jerez.

"We had new tyres to test during this session, plus we also wanted to try the same tyre types that worked so well at Valencia last month at a different racetrack," said Michelin Director of Motorcycle Racing Jean-Philippe Weber.

"At the moment the tyres we are working on are logical developments of our latest tyres, though we did try out some new compounds that worked well. Nicky also tested a new 16-inch rear, though he focused mostly on our 16.5."

There were a number of Michelin debutants taking part in the Sepang test, including one (Yamaha Tech 3's James Toseland) making his very first official appearance on a machine shod with French tyres.

Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Randy de Puniet had all been present at the opening post-race event in Valencia, and continued to get to grips with their new machines and Michelin rubber.

"The data and information we gained here will be very important in helping us work towards the first tests of 2008 here in January. Our new riders all made excellent progress with their lap times and proved that they are extremely motivated," added Weber, who was particularly impressed with the performance of JiR Team Scot rider Dovizioso.

"Andrea did an excellent job," said the Michelin chief. "He focused on the front tyre and he gives very good feedback. It was also good to work with Jorge, though he was working more on bike set-up than tyre testing during these tests. Randy did a great job, he really likes his new bike and tyres and shows great potential. James worked very well in his first ride on a MotoGP bike, especially considering he was also riding on a new track and with new tyres."

The last word on the Michelin fightback came from a rider who holds a long history with the manufacturer, Yamaha Tech 3 newcomer Colin Edwards.

"Michelin have been working really hard and they've got some new ideas which should keep us moving in the right direction," said the ‘Texas Tornado', who rode round within the pole record on qualifiers and in lap record pace using race tyres.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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