Michelin will begin another season of MotoGP tyre supply with a new range at this weekend’s season opener in Qatar.
Because of its desert location and the frequent presence of wind-blown sand on the track, Losail International Circuit’s surface is notoriously abrasive and tends to become more slippery as grip levels drop off due to the cooler temperatures encountered after sunset.
However, the ability of Michelin’s MotoGP tyres to take these characteristics in their stride has contributed actively to the setting of new fastest-race-lap, shortest-race-duration and top-speed records for the 5.380-kilometre circuit.
Michelin will take soft (white sidewall markings), medium (no markings) and hard (yellow markings) front and rear to Losail. The soft and hard fronts are symmetric, while the medium front and all three rear options are asymmetric, with a harder compound for the right shoulder due to the circuit’s 10 right-hand turns, compared with just six left-handers.
The tyre allocation has also been adapted to the characteristics of the track, each rider can choose a maximum of six soft, five medium and four hard tyres for the front and rear.
“Our pre-season test programme saw us meet our development targets and the results are extremely encouraging. They mean we will be able to provide the riders with a range that is both more streamlined and more versatile, and that in turn will facilitate their bike set-up work. We have also improved consistency by a move to slightly harder compounds, while at the same time maximising grip and overall performance,” said Michelin honcho Piero Taramasso.
“These gains were praised by our partners at the pre-season test in Qatar where our tyres played a part in the establishment of two new MotoGP records for Losail: that of the fastest lap for the track – which was the work of Ducati Team’s Jack Miller, with a time of 1’53.183s – and that of the highest speed ever reached there when Johann Zarco’s Pramac Racing Ducati was clocked at 357.6kph down the main straight.”