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A new season is dawning and once more, the MotoGP™ teams and riders will be pushing for glory with Michelin’s trusty rubber beneath them – starting in Qatar. Ahead of the 2021 season kicking off, Michelin have explained what their new range will consist of as they respond to Dorna Sports’ call for technical stability.
While ensuring the continuity of performance, Michelin have been focusing on developing the 2020 range. The result is forming a new range that is simpler and made up of fewer reference tyres, but which are more versatile and more consistent.
Get ready for the new #MotoGP season!— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) March 19, 2021
A new season with a new MICHELIN Power range of tires with even more grip and consistency for even more action, thrill, tension, emotion, clashes...
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Chatting about the new developments, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager Piero Taramasso said: “The evolution of the 2020 range is based on the experience of the 2020 season. The change of date for some events has allowed us to test our tyres over a wide temperature range: from 60 degrees in Jerez in July, to 13 degrees in Barcelona at the end of the season. We were able to study how the tyres work in these extreme conditions, and we found that some mixes were even more versatile than we expected.
“The search for the right set-up was a recurring theme of the 2020 season,” explains Taramasso. “Eager to provide the best tyres for race conditions, Michelin offered its partners more than 35 different specifications over the past season.”
This is where the “simpler” range comes into play. A significant reduction in tyres will make it easier to set the bikes up, making the advantages of each tyre more easily understood when the riders are initially setting up their machines.
“Tyre consistency is Michelin’s signature,” continues Taramasso. “We have therefore worked to rebalance the situation by introducing asymmetric tyres for certain circuits, especially at the front, whereas until now we have offered single compound options. Thanks to all the measures taken by the development team, we have focused our range towards a level of hardness slightly above 2020, while preserving overall performance levels.
“We used all the elements at our disposal to develop the range in the respect of Dorna’s “technical continuity” choice. We expect a season that will certainly be complicated by Covid-19, yet still open and exciting. Our objectives are clear: to satisfy our partners by simplifying the range and increasing versatility, and to break new race time records due to the consistency of our tyres.”
So, what do the riders have at their disposal every weekend?
- At each Grand Prix, every rider will have 22 slick tyres – 10 fronts, 12 rears.
- A front tyre allocation can be made up of choosing a maximum of five tyres from each specification: Soft, Medium, Hard.
- A rear tyre allocation can be made up of choosing a maximum of six Softs, five Mediums and four Hards.
- The two riders progressing through Q1 to Q2 will be allocated one additional Slick front and rear tyre, which can be any of the three compounds.
- The standard allocation is 13 tyres (six front, seven rear) with a choice of both Soft and Medium.
There are exceptions here though. If four of the five Free Practice and qualifying sessions are declared wet, an additional set (front and rear) will be assigned to each rider. In addition, if both Q1 and Q2 are declared wet, the additional tyres allocated will be Rain tyres, compromising one front and one rear of the rider’s preferred specification. Moreover, if Q1 and Q2 are declared with different weather conditions, no additional tyres will be allocated.
The first two weekends will, of course, take place in Doha at the Losail International Circuit. Because of its desert location and frequency of wind blowing sand onto the asphalt, Losail’s surface is notoriously abrasive and tends to become more slippery as grip levels drop off as the sun sets behind the horizon.
The tyres available for the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar and Tissot Grand Prix of Doha are as follows:
The Soft and Hard fronts are symmetric, while the Medium front and all three rear options are asymmetric, with a harder compound on the right shoulder due to the circuit’s 10 right-hand turns compared to six left. If rain falls in Qatar over the two weekends, the fronts will be symmetric and the rears will be asymmetric.
“I am very proud of what Michelin Motorsport’s teams in Clermont-Ferrand and on the ground have achieved. In spite of the difficult circumstances they had to contend with, and working within the existing technical framework, they have succeeded in building on the experience we acquired in 2020 to revisit our MotoGP range in depth,” comments Taramasso.
“Our pre-season test programme saw us meet our development targets and the results are extremely encouraging. They mean we will be able to provide the riders with a range that is both more streamlined and more versatile, and that in turn will facilitate their bike set-up work. We have also improved consistency by a move to slightly harder compounds, while at the same time maximising grip and overall performance.
“These gains were praised by our partners at the pre-season test in Qatar where our tyres played a part in the establishment of two new MotoGP records for Losail: that of the fastest lap for the track – which was the work of Ducati Team’s Jack Miller, with a time of 1m53.183s – and that of the highest speed ever reached there when Johann Zarco’s Pramac Racing Ducati was clocked at 357.6kph down the main straight!”
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