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Michelin director believes winter work will come good

Michelin director believes winter work will come good

They may have once again missed out on victory in the opening race of the season, but Michelin's showing in Qatar was by no means a failure for the French tyre manufacturer.

They may have once again missed out on victory in the opening race of the season, but Michelin's showing in Qatar was by no means a failure for the French tyre manufacturer. No rider using their 2008 rubber finished outside the top ten in the first ever night race, with respective Yamaha and Honda factory representatives Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa finishing behind Ducati's Bridgestone-shod Casey Stoner on the podium.

The results of Saturday's qualifying session also gave Michelin reason to raise a smile, with Lorenzo and the Tech 3 Yamaha duo of James Toseland and Colin Edwards on the front row. Hard work has certainly taken place over the winter to regain their mantle of leading MotoGP tyre provider, something noted by Director of Competition Frédéric Henry-Biabaud.

"We didn't like losing last year," affirmed the Michelin chief. "In any case, we were still second and third in the championship and with 31 of the 32 titles, so we remained on the right side. It gave us a kind of boost to work harder over the winter, which we hope will pay off."

In 2008 Michelin are without the services of Valentino Rossi, the rider who has given them their first victories of the season every year since 2001. The Fiat Yamaha man moves to Bridgestone after a long relationship with the tyre suppliers, but this has not given Henry-Biabaud excessive cause for concern.

"We learnt a lot from Valentino, and I dare say that he learnt something from us. Him leaving us was a key move for us, but the young riders that we are taking on also mark a very important move."

Victory in the ‘tyre war' is not merely a case of bragging rights, and the Michelin director emphasised the correlation between what goes on at the circuits and what tyre road bikers use for their daily sojourns.

"The people who watch MotoGP are experts. They look back and they remember which rider is riding with which tyre. There is an obvious link between the end user and what we do in motorsport," he concluded.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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