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Phillip Island `toughest track´ for Michelin

Phillip Island `toughest track´ for Michelin

The distinctive nature of the Phillip Island circuit makes the track the most difficult in the World Championship, according to tyre manufacturer Michelin.

Changeable conditions and a distinctive layout mean that, although a favourite track for the MotoGP riders, for those in charge of choosing an appropriate tyre for the occasion do not especially look forward to a visit to Phillip Island. Michelin director of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber says that the circuit is nothing short of the most difficult venue in MotoGP, and pinpoints three particular challenges faced by the French fabricant in choosing their allocations for the trip to Australia.

`Phillip Island is the toughest track we go to in MotoGP, it demands a great deal from the tyres. We use very specific rear tyres for this track because it's like nowhere else. It is the layout of the track which is aggressive, not the asphalt,´ notes Weber. `The circuit features a lot of fast left-handers, through which riders use a lot of lean angle and a lot of throttle, which puts a lot of heat into the rear tyre. The turns that put the most heat into the tyres are Southern Loop and the final corner onto the start-finish.

`The other challenge at Phillip Island is the track's asymmetric layout. It is as asymmetric as Valencia, but more demanding. There are few right-handers, so it's important to have good warm-up on the right side of the tyres. The compound on the left side of the rear tyres is therefore really hard, while the compound on the right is medium to medium-soft. The front tyres don't have such a tough time, so we use medium-compound fronts.´

Conditions in Japan were pleasantly warm for the MotoGP round last time out, but Australia can often leave riders facing a chill with a drop in temperature and exposure to strong winds. This also poses a problem when it comes to keeping tyres warm.

 

`The third big challenge at Phillip Island is the weather, which can be a bit unpredictable. Conditions can be quite cool at this time of year, especially in the morning sessions, so this is something else we have to deal with, a big difference in temperature between the morning and the afternoon. Warm-up performance is particularly crucial in the morning sessions.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

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