Softer soft from Michelin at home race

Published: 04 May 2016

Michelin will bring a brand-new softer compound front tyre this weekend to their home round of the MotoGP championship, in an attempt to cope with the colder conditions expected at the Le Mans circuit.

The new front, alongside medium and hard options, will also be joined by two brand-new construction asymmetric rear tyres, with the soft and medium options both sporting a harder right shoulder to deal with the nature of the Bugatti circuit’s nine right handers.

But, with anything possible weather-wise at the often cold and rain struck track, Nicolas Goubert, MotoGP project lead for the French firm, says the key is making sure they cover all bases.

“The weather is often unsettled for Le Mans so you have to be ready for everything, from rain, overcast skies and chilly temperatures, to hot, bright sunshine. Le Mans is a circuit that is low on grip, so we don’t expect wear to be an issue. The chief difficulty is covering the wide spectrum of possible conditions.”

And adding to the pressure to get it right after a difficult start to the season for the new firm is the stress of a home race, according to Piero Taramasso, manager of the firm’s Two-Wheel Motorsport Group.

“This weekend is very important for us, as it is our home Grand Prix and one that we all want to do well at. There will be many guests from Michelin here to support us, as well as the backing of the French fans who all want to see us succeed, because Michelin is such an important name in France and one that its people are very proud of.

“We have a wide range of tyres available so hopefully we will be able to meet whatever conditions we encounter at the circuit and there is always a chance of rain at Le Mans at this time of year. Whatever the weather brings, we will be ready and doing all we can to make sure the race is as exciting as it can be and that the big crowd that is expected gets to see the best of Michelin.”