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Michelin and the 2017 MotoGP™ World Championship are on the way to the most northerly event of the season as the racing series heads to Assen in The Netherlands for the Motul TT Assen - the eighth race of the year.
The 4,542m long circuit is also known as ‘The Cathedral of Speed’ and is a favourite with fans and racers alike, producing some great races in the past in front of a knowledgeable and festive crowd that descends from all over Europe. This year will see the 87th Edition of the famous Dutch TT after it was first staged in 1925 and has taken place every year since then, apart from 1940 to 1945 due to the hostilities of the Second World War. When the Motorcycle World Championship was formed in 1949 Assen was one of the original venues and has remained on the calendar every year since then - the only circuit to have this accolade.
The track is a very technical affair with corners varying from slow turns to high-speed bends. This layout demands good rear grip – especially on the side of the tyre – through the track’s six left-hand and twelve right-hand corners. The design of the Assen circuit has no hard-braking zones and the track is not very demanding on the front tyres – unlike some recently visited circuits – so with these considerations the allocation of MICHELIN Power Slicks for the front will all be a symmetrical design, available in soft, medium and hard compounds.
The rear tyres will all be asymmetric to manage the stresses that are placed upon them, with the right-hand-side of the tyre having a harder compound to give better durability and optimum grip through the extra right turns, whilst the left side will be a softer compound designed to warm up quicker and give rapid temperature to the rubber after the sustained periods on the right shoulder. The rear will be available in soft (white band) medium (no band) and hard (yellow band), with the compounds designed to cover the medium severity of abrasion that the track is expected to offer. Last year saw the wettest race of the season on the MotoGP calendar at Assen and although no-one wants a repeat of those conditions the allocation will be prepared with the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres in soft and medium should the wet weather re-appear.
The Dutch TT had been traditionally staged on a Saturday until that changed last year with the first Sunday running, which will continue this year but with a revised race-time. Michelin and the MotoGP™ field will take to the track on Friday 23rd June for the first day of practice, followed by further practice sessions and qualifying on the Saturday. Sunday’s 26-lap race will get underway at an earlier than usual start time of 13.00hrs CEST (12.00hrs BST, 11.00hrs GMT/UTC).
Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “Assen is always a difficult race to gauge for because you never know what the weather will be like there. We have had very cold and extremely hot, and last year it was so wet the race had to be stopped – so we must be ready for any eventuality, because Assen is one of motorcycle racing’s most historic tracks and it is always a big event. The surface is inconsistent and the mix of newer and older asphalt offers differing levels of grip and abrasion. The new sections are slippery and the older parts abrasive, this makes it hard for riders to get a consistent feeling throughout a lap, and very tricky in the wet. The track is still a favourite with the riders, despite the changes over the past years, but even with those alterations it still retains its unique feel. The layout has fast bends and slow corners, so the tyres are forced to cope with all different stresses. It is also a track that sees riders use different lines and this can make for some very exciting racing. We have tyres that provide effective grip and durability in dry conditions and wet as well and we are looking forward to an exciting weekend.”
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