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Michelin plan comeback project after Laguna Seca mistakes

Michelin plan comeback project after Laguna Seca mistakes

Admitting to having been overly conservative with their tyre selection at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Michelin are planning extensive tests and development for second half of the season.

Michelin paid the price for second guessing the conditions at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix last Sunday, admitting that they made some big mistakes with the rubber shipped over based on the high temperatures of 2007. The French fabricant held up their hands after conceding another full podium to Bridgestone, and are now plotting an intensive summer schedule in order to regain ground.

`The starting point of our difficulties this weekend was the problems we had last year, when the track was more aggressive and the track temperature higher than expected, which gave us wear problems,´ says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin´s director of motorcycle racing, explaining the strategy ahead of the trip to Laguna Seca.

`This year the track was much less aggressive. Also, the track temperature was lower than last year, but in fact not so bad because we saw the high 40s on Friday. Based on last year´s situation we were too conservative, with too-hard constructions and compounds which gave reduced performance. Our riders had only a limited supply of tyres they could use for the race, so they had to work with harder tyres during practice. It´s been a really difficult weekend because our approach was far too conservative.´

The riders had been presented with a difficult task by the limited selection, although some had warned of the problems of the planned inventory for the weekend, as Weber explains.

`From now on we have to share more our tyre strategy and allocation strategy with the teams. For example, Colin Edwards requested some fronts for this race which he had already used this year at less demanding tracks. He could have used those tyres here, so he was right… obviously we aren´t happy with our riders' lap times here, because we didn't give them enough grip.´

The recovery process from the Laguna Seca setback has been outlined by Frederic Henry-Biabaud, Michelin´s competitions director, with testing and collaboration high up on the agenda.

`We didn't want the same problem (as in 2007) this time, so we recommended a very conservative direction to our teams. It was a mistake from which we have learned. Over the next three weeks we will therefore work in two directions. First, we will organise tests at several tracks. Second, we will continue developing some new solutions that we already have under development and which we will recommend to our teams for the next races, representing a more ambitious direction.´ said the Frenchman.

`We will also evolve the way we recommend tyre solutions to our teams, because this way we can deliver better performance. The season is far from over and we look forward to the last seven races after some very positive races already this year.´

MotoGP, 2008

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