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Michelin cite left side stress as key to Sachsenring success

Michelin cite left side stress as key to Sachsenring success

The dominant tyre manufacturer at Sachsenring in the premier class, Michelin are citing the grip levels on the left side of the rear tyre as the focal point for their German visit.

Whilst Le Mans may be tyre manufacturer Michelin´s geographical home track, Sachsenring is undoubtedly one of the French company´s strongholds on the MotoGP calendar. Their arch rivals Bridgestone have only once finished on the podium at the German circuit (with Loris Capirossi´s second place last year) whilst they have cleaned up with the likes of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa in recent years.

With this in mind, Michelin have a clear idea of the demands of the Sachsenring circuit, noting left side grip as the crucial factor in success at the circuit.

`The Sachsenring isn´t particularly abrasive but it´s very demanding on the left side of the rear,´ says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin´s chief of motorcycle racing. `The main characteristic of the track is its asymmetry, with the left side of the tyres getting a lot of stress, this is what we have to work on most of all. The layout is also very undulating, so the front tyre gets a lot of stress in the downhill sections.

`At Sachsenring the left side of the tyres use harder compounds than what we used at Assen and Donington, similar to the compounds we used on the right side at Catalunya, another demanding track. The fronts will be similar to Catalunya - medium to hard compounds.´

Although track temperatures have in the past exceeded 50 degrees celsius, warming up the tyres is always an important aspect of peak rubber performance. Weber expects this to be no problem for Michelin this weekend, although they may push the boat out with compounds as a result of a successful showing by Colin Edwards in Assen.

`Warm-up on the right side is important at Sachsenring because there´s not so many right-handers. Our tyre warm-up is good this year and our tyres also have a good operating range. Even at Assen we used quite hard tyres for the race because we wanted to be consistent throughout. But afterwards we saw that we could have gone slightly softer with some of our riders because Tech 3 used slightly softer compounds and Colin was very fast. Now we have to go for performance because Casey Stoner is very fast, the target is to be able to fight with Casey.´

`If you want grip you want softer tyres, if you want consistency you want harder tyres, so we have to find the best balance between the two. What we are really working at now is using harder compounds that can go very fast. Mainly it´s a chemical challenge, but machine handling is very important so construction is also important.´


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