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Michelin preparing for `tricky´ test at Indianapolis

Michelin preparing for `tricky´ test at Indianapolis

Tyre manufacturer Michelin are depending on lower temperatures than in testing at Indianapolis.

Their tyre strategy was not well-received at the last visit to American soil, but Michelin will be hoping that their choice of compounds available pays off at the crucial Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

None of the French fabricant´s full time riders have been able to undertake laps with MotoGP machines at the latest track to receive a place on the World Championship calendar, but testing at the beginning of July with riders Erwan Nigon and William Costes has illustrated to Michelin the difficulties faced by the surface.

`As a MotoGP track it is very atypical and more complex than we expected,´ admits Jean-Phillipe Weber, Michelin´s director of motorcycle racing.

`The turn one fast left-hander isn´t too grippy, so after the test there was discussion about regrinding the surface. However, it was decided to leave the track unchanged.´

Michelin tyres have reportedly been used since, with pictures taken of club racer Rob Jenson and former AMA Superbike star Jeff Haney talking with technicians and running Honda CBR1000 bikes at the track at the end of last week. How the factory´s MotoGP efforts shape up will be seen on Friday´s first practice session at the Brickyard.

`From a tyre point of view it´s quite tricky because there are quite a few very slow corners, then a triple left at the end of the lap where you need good traction, and also two or three different grip levels during the lap,´ continues Weber on the demands of the track.

`At the front it demands a construction that gives stability during braking for the first left-hander, but the front also needs to offer good handling for the tighter sections. At the rear, traction is important. One section of the track features low grip and gives more tyre wear, while another section is less aggressive on the tyres.´

At Laguna Seca Michelin were caught out by second guessing the heat. This time they are counting on lower temperatures than in testing.

`At first we expected to use softer compounds because it´s not a fast track with lots of long corners, but in fact it needs medium to medium-hard compounds. During the tests it was very hot, with a track temperature of almost 50 degrees, but we don't expect it to be quite so hot during the race weekend, so we will also need something a bit softer for lower track temperatures.´

Michelin will have six riders in their line-up for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, following the defection of Dani Pedrosa to Bridgestone after the last round at Misano.


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