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Michelin head gives explanations for excellent season start

Michelin head gives explanations for excellent season start

Jean-Phillipe Weber from Michelin is delighted with the improvements shown in the opening four races of 2008, as they look to regain the tyre bragging rights from Bridgestone.

The MotoGP tyre war has been an even affair after four races, with two victories apiece for Michelin and rivals Bridgestone. Neither of the two manufacturers have lost at the tracks where they were triumphant last year, although the setting for this weekend´s race is a more neutral track for the latest battle between the tyre titans.

Ahead of the visit to Le Mans -effectively home soil for Michelin- the French fabricant's Director of Motorcycle Racing, Jean-Philippe Weber, has given his views on the steps taken to catch up with Bridgestone.

`In Qatar our riders were able to lead from the very start, despite the cool track temperature, proving that warm-up performance is very good,´ says Weber, with his focus on the pair of tracks where Michelin fell short of victory but still maintained a strong presence in the top ten.

`In China our riders were able to race with the same tyres that they had used in practice, even though track temperature was 25 degrees on race day, 23 degrees less than it had been the day before. This proves that our tyres now have an excellent operating range. And sticking with the same tyres gives riders a real advantage because they can keep the same machine settings and because they know how the tyre is going to perform over race distance.´

Aside from the impressive race performances, Michelin have a perfect record of pole positions from the opening four races. Fiat Yamaha rookie Jorge Lorenzo has been the main contributor to the haul, although Michelin veteran Colin Edwards was the most recent poleman in Shanghai. He puts this down to another focus for the tyre company; the edge grip that as allowed for deeper braking and harder apex acceleration.

Despite losing Valentino Rossi to Bridgestone at the end of last season, Weber still sees a healthy lineup of title contenders and future stars at his disposal.

`We are very happy with the performance of our riders so far this year. We have seen Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo win races early in the championship but we can see that all seven of our riders are showing excellent potential,´ says the Michelin boss. `The rookies like Jorge, James Toseland and Andrea Dovizioso are also very exciting and give us great hope for the future.´

MotoGP, 2008

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