French tyre manufacturer Michelin have prepared special tyres for this weekend’s Phillip Island round of the 2016 MotoGP series, admitting that something special was needed to cope with the demands of the Australian track.
Notoriously difficult to get right, with a huge variation in temperatures possible and fast corners that eat away at tyres, the firm will ship three options of front as well as two brand new asymmetric rears that boss Piero Taramasso says will cope with conditions.
“Phillip Island is a really special place, there is no other track like it on the calendar and this week’s event will have an even greater significance because it is the first time Michelin has sponsored a MotoGP race. With the race being sponsored by Michelin will mean that we will really be under the spotlight and we are under no illusions about the task that we will have at Phillip Island.
“It is one of the most demanding tracks we visit and is very hard on tyres, so with this in mind we have developed a tyre especially for the track. With no racing information from the last seven years, we had very little relevant data, but the test there at the start of the year was very positive – despite the rain – and we collected a lot of data from all the riders and teams. We have produced a tyre that we believe will work well.
“It is a completely new compound; you could say it’s the ‘Phillip Island tyre’ really, as we won’t use it anywhere else. The track is very abrasive so we have taken that into consideration and created a tyre that will cope with that, as well as the fast corners, so we have also produced an asymmetric front to give the riders the grip they will need to perform around this special track.”
And with rain forecast for some of the weekend, the dry tyres will also be joined by a selection of wets, with extra soft, soft and medium fronts and soft and medium rears joined by an intermediate option.