At the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, there will be an extra 20-minute tyre test session for the MotoGP™ class on Friday. This is currently scheduled to place from 15:55 to 16:15 local time (GMT+11) and will not count towards combined practice time classification.
The session is to give Official MotoGP™ tyre supplier Michelin the opportunity to assess a new specification slick rear tyre at an especially demanding circuit for the rear. This latest evolution has a new construction designed to improve performance at all tracks and has already been tested at the Barcelona, Brno and Misano Tests with the aim of introducing it in 2020. The version that Michelin will bring to the Australian Grand Prix is asymmetric with a harder left-hand side and features the existing compounds specifically designed to combat the huge stresses the tyres are placed under at Phillip Island.
Each rider will have one rear tyre in the new specification available and will be able to choose between a soft and a medium compound. Riders will also be given an extra front tyre of their preferred specification – soft, medium or hard – and will be asked to do a minimum of 11 timed laps. Following the 20-minute evaluation session, a decision will then be taken as to whether the rear tyre will be added to next year’s race weekend allocation.
In terms of the race weekend proper, Michelin have supplied the premier class with a unique range for Phillip Island. Available in soft, medium and hard for the front and rear, this is one of only three times this season when the whole allocation with be asymmetrical – the others being Sachsenring and Valencia – with the harder side at this event appearing on the left to contend with the extremes that are placed on that edge of the tyre.
With its position above the sea and the time of year in Australia – it’s early Spring – Phillip Island is prone to wind and wet weather. If any precipitation hits the track then the Michelin Power Rain tyres will be available. This allocation is equally designed to meet the particular needs of the circuit and will be available in a soft and medium symmetric for the front, with an asymmetric soft and medium for the rear, again with a harder left-hand side.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “After three years as the Michelin Grand Prix it will seem strange to come to Phillip Island without our name all around the circuit, but that doesn’t mean we will be taking the event lightly. This is still a huge race for us as it is one that puts our tyres under extreme inspections to produce the grip, durability, consistency and performance that this circuit demands. We bring a unique selection of compounds for here and they have very specific tasks, not just for all I have mentioned, but they have to cope with the weather that Phillip Island can bring. This is a challenge we relish and look forward to what can be achieved.
“We also have the added responsibility of an additional stand-alone test for the proposed 2020 rear tyre. We have had successful feedback so far, but need to asses it at a track with high demands, such as here, Sachsenring or Termas. It was not possible to do a full test at any of those venues, so we have a short window to test during this race weekend, for which we are grateful to the riders, Dorna and IRTA for making it happen. It is a very important test as it marks the next evolution for the MICHELIN Power Slick in MotoGP.”