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Michelin is back in the Americas as the MotoGP™ Championship moves to the northern part of the continent and the state of Texas for the third round of the season which will be the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas held at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin.
With 20 corners of almost every possible configuration, elevation changes and 1.2km long straight – the longest one the calendar – the COTA track deserves respect and concentration and is certainly a layout that demands a lot from tyres and riders alike. The high abrasiveness of the 5,513km circuit, along with the stresses that the tyres are put through over the large number of turns, means the rubber will have to work very hard throughout the weekend to give the riders optimum grip and durability. With the data gathered from last season’s race, the Michelin Technicians have been able to assess the information and prepare the best tyres most suited to the characteristics of the track.
To cope with this challenging circuit the allocation of MICHELIN Power Slicks will feature a soft, medium and hard compound for both the front and rear. These tyres will be identifiable by a white band, no band and a yellow band respectively. The rear compound tyres will also incorporate a harder compound right-hand-side to give it an asymmetrical performance suited to the track’s design. To combat any wet weather the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will be available in soft (blue band) and medium (no band) compounds, but with good weather expected it will be unlikely these tyres will be used, but following the changing conditions experienced at this year’s previous two Grands Prix, anything can happen.
MotoGP has visited the COTA track – which is situated within the Austin city limits in Texas – for the past four seasons since the circuit was built. Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez is the only rider to have been successful at the venue, taking all four victories including the first Michelin win at the track last year.
Michelin and the MotoGP field will begin track action on Friday 21st April with the first two Free Practice sessions. Qualifying for the 21-lap race will be staged on Saturday, to decide the grid for Sunday’s race which will get underway at 14.00hrs (GMT -5)) on Sunday 23rd April.
Piero Taramasso, Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group: “COTA is another very demanding circuit and features many changes of direction, slow turns, fast bends and a long straight. There are also hard braking areas and all this together makes for a big challenge for a tyre to cope with. The riders are always demanding the very best and that is always our target- to be able to give the optimum tyre for all riders and bikes to use. We were unable to produce the very good performance that we had hoped for in 2016, but this season we are going there fully prepared – thanks to data we got after last year’s race – and with a range of rubber that will work well around the Texan circuit. With three fly-away tests and then the three long-haul races to start the season, it has certainly been a busy time, but we are all totally focused and will arrive in Austin fresh and ready for the task-in-hand.”
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