Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and the rest of the MotoGP grid are likely to get their first opportunity to evaluate Michelin’s new 2016-spec tyres in Valencia in November.
Michelin will take over from Bridgestone as official tyre supplier in 2016, but to ensure the French brand has as much preparation time as possible, much of the traditional post-season test in Valencia could be dedicated to assessing the future tyre range.
MotoGP bosses are also working on an extensive testing schedule with Michelin throughout 2015 to ensure it rolls out a high performance and safe product for the fire-breathing 1000cc prototypes the following year.
MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb told MCN: “I am already working on the test regulations for next year to allow Michelin to do more or less as much testing with the current riders as they can on the current bikes. It is obvious from product lead times that they need a full year to get up to speed and I expect them to be out testing in Valencia this year. Some of it is subject to contract because Bridgestone are the official tyre supplier and right now nobody is allowed to use another tyre. We have to negotiate that with Bridgestone.”
Factory entries like Honda and Yamaha are currently severely restricted on the time they are permitted to test, but Webb confirmed the arrival of Michelin will require a relaxing of the existing restrictions.
He added: “The idea of the testing restrictions was to try and even out the playing field a little bit and not have the companies with bigger budgets testing 24 hours a day. We still have to apply that objective while allowing Michelin to get the testing they need on proper MotoGP bikes. I expect we'll have to come up with a rotation system where between the current factories they can take turns having test days with Michelin, so it is controlled but everybody has the same amount of testing.”