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16" development going sweetly for Michelin

16' development going sweetly for Michelin

With just one of their factory riders on track last week in Phillip Island –Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden- Michelin put the lion's share of their 2008 development project in the hands of the satellite riders for three days ‘Down Under'.

With just one of their factory riders on track last week in Phillip Island –Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden- Michelin put the lion's share of their 2008 development project in the hands of the satellite riders for three days ‘Down Under'.

Four of the five Michelin men riding in Australia occupied places in the top five of the timesheets, trailing only 2007 World Champion and fastest rider of the test Casey Stoner. Hayden headed the quintet, at a test in which the 16" tyre debuted by the American last year experienced a surge in popularity.

"We continued working with both our 16.5"and 16" rears. More and more of our riders are now working with the 16", so for our upcoming tests we are looking at supplying 50/50 16.5s and 16s," explained Director of motorcycle racing Jean-Phillipe Weber. "The 16" is definitely growing."

Despite the fine times put in by Hayden, Colin Edwards, James Toseland and Andrea Dovizioso, Weber believes that the Austalian visit leaves Michelin with no clearer idea as to how 2008 will pan out.

"On the one hand we saw that Casey Stoner was very fast, but on the other we were very competitive against all the other riders, so it isn't obvious where the exact performance is in terms of tyres," said the Michelin chief upon the conclusion of the test.

"We tested some quite different rear tyres during these three days, their performance wasn't so bad but we wanted it to be better. Running temperatures are always very high at Phillip Island, so we wanted to try a big change in construction. We tried a softer construction, looking for more edge grip, but maybe we went too soft, so the tyres weren't as consistent as we wanted them to be. But this is what testing is for and now we know in which direction to go."

Some of the most important information gathered at Phillip Island came from a new profile used by newcomer Dovizioso. The JiR Team Scot rider, riding with Michelin tyres at the track for the first time, gave some fresh input to the development of a new front profile debuted by two of the more experienced men at Motegi last year.

"Although we focused mostly on rear tyres during this test, we did some more work adapting compounds for each of our riders with our two different fronts," notes Weber. "We also tried a third profile front with Andrea. We already tested this tyre last year at Motegi with Nicky and Colin. Both of them liked the tyre but when they tried it again later the results weren't so conclusive. Andrea had a good feeling with the tyre at Phillip Island, though the construction was a little too hard, so we will make some softer constructions for Jerez later this month."

All riders electing to test last week had their first opportunity of the year to undertake laps in the wet, and Michelin veteran Edwards was particularly satisfied with the new material at his disposal for the task.

"I tried a new front Michelin rain tyre and I was really happy, it felt more natural for my style," said the ‘Texas Tornado. "Seeing Michelin putting in so much hard work adds a lot of motivation for me."

Michelin riders, including Hayden and Australia absentee Jorge Lorenzo will continue their work with the French company in Sepang from tomorrow.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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