Michelin holds first test day with MotoGP factory riders
MotoGP factory riders were given a foretaste of the Michelin tyres they will race next season during a test at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia on 26 February. The French company proposed a choice of four front tyres with different profiles and construction, and three rears. The day’s overriding objective was to harvest the riders’ first impressions in order to obtain a more precise idea of the best front/rear combination to develop over the coming months.
In clear weather and with the thermometer standing at 34°C (track temperature 55°C), the riders racked up numerous laps. The initial aim was for them to get to know the Michelin tyres and then narrow down their choices. Some even riders completed long runs in a bid to simulate a grand prix.
“Today’s testing was very positive,” reported Nicolas Goubert, technical director and deputy director at Michelin Motorsport. “The riders praised the consistency of the Michelin tyres they tried and confirmed that our development work is heading in the right direction. They unanimously described the grip of the rear tyres as ‘exceptional’. As for the solutions for the front, the riders singled out a wider option which they preferred over a narrow version that would have favoured cornering speed. They also provided us with valuable feedback that will enable us to identify the areas in which we can work during the months ahead.”
Michelin Motorsport’s engineers face a very busy schedule in 2015. The next phase of the development process will take them to Doha, Qatar, on 23 March, when Michele Pirro (Ducati), Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) and Michael Laverty (Aprilia) will be on duty for the third official Michelin test day. As for the factory riders, their services will next be required at the official Michelin test scheduled for June at Mugello, after the Gran Premio d’Italia.