As MotoGP™ teams and riders prepare for three weeks of racing, so do Michelin and they start at Motegi for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. Known for its hard braking areas and big acceleration zones, all on an above average abrasive surface, the Japanese circuit is a unique challenge on the MotoGP™ calendar.
The layout of the near five-kilometre circuit features four distinctive straights, meaning a lot of usage is placed on the centre of the tyre, but due to a lower amount of fast, flowing corners there is not as much stress placed on the rear tyres than there is at other tracks.
The configuration of six left- and eight right-hand turns places specific demands on the front tyre, with good braking stability and warm-up performance being two important requirements. As a result, MotoGP™ teams will the following on offer to them throughout the weekend: front tyres in the soft, medium and hard compounds, all symmetric, whilst the rears will have a harder right-hand shoulder to give an asymmetric finish.
Wet weather can often play a role at the Japanese Grand Prix and Michelin are prepared for the eventuality that rain begins to fall. In that situation, a soft and medium compound for both the front and the rear will become available, with the front symmetrical and the rear with a harder right-hand-side to give them an asymmetric design like their slick equivalents.
Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “This is the second of the four flyaway races and the first of the three-week tour around the Pacific Ocean. This is always a demanding time for logistics and for the different circuits we face. Motegi is a track that demands stability from the front as the riders brake hard into many turns, especially ones such as ’90-degree Corner’, but then they also need the grip from the rear to get the power down to accelerate from these slower corners.
We select compounds which we know will meet these requirements and give all the riders the confidence they need to push hard into these corners, while still having total control of their machines. Motegi can also be wet, but after what happened there in 2017, we know how well the rain tyres work, so have no worries about those giving top performance for all.”