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Michelin cite grip balance for MotoGP test falls

“Maybe they wanted to take the most out of the rear grip and the front couldn't cope with opening so early”
Michelin believe that the high-speed falls during Thursday's Sepang tyre test were caused by a difference in grip balance between the front and rear rubber.

Jack Miller (Turn 5), Aleix Espargaro (Turn 5), Jorge Lorenzo (Turn 3) and Andrea Dovizioso (Turn 3) all walked away from fast accidents.

The test was the first time that race riders have tried the prototype Michelins being developed for 2016, when the French company takes over the exclusive MotoGP deal from Bridgestone.

Speaking at Sepang, Michelin Racing's technical director Nicolas Goubert explained: “What we are lacking now is a good balance front and rear. How the tyres work together. Front and rear balance is something you hear a lot about in car racing, but you also get it in bikes.

“Basically the two accidents at Turn 3 for example were because riders opened [the throttle] probably a bit early. Maybe they wanted to take the most out of the rear grip and the front couldn't cope with opening so early.

“Some other riders, that didn't crash, said quite quickly that they couldn't use all the potential from the rear on the exit of the corner because the front is not at the right level yet.”

Goubert added that the grip imbalance may have been possible to solve with bike set-up changes, but such modifications cannot be made when trying to directly compare different tyre options.

“For me it's not only a tyre issue and some manufacturers' said straight away that they could work on the setting of the bike as well. They cannot do that today because we don't have time.

“So we said ok, for the future we will work on our side and with the test riders and they will work to adjust the set-up. We have a clear diction.”

Michelin brought two different front tyres and three different rear tyres. Goubert said that tyre endurance was not an issue, with the likes of world champion Marc Marquez completing a race simulation with consistent performance throughout.

Lap times were not available, but stopwatch times suggested most leading riders were able to lap in the 2m 1s. It is not thought that any rider broke the two-minute barrier.

The MotoGP riders had spent the previous three days at Sepang using Bridgestone rubber, when Marquez led the way with a lap time of 1m 59.1s during a 'time attack' and set an average of 2m 0.7s during a race simulation.

Tagged as: Michelin

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Jack Mordino

February 26, 2015 12:02 PM

Edwards, an "old school" rider liked the Michelin front. He stated that you have to start releasing the brakes as you lean-in, which he deemed as "normal", in contrast to the Bridgestones which offer so much grip that you could lean-in pretty much with full brakes still applied, something "unnatural" to him. Reading between the lines, the Michelin front tyre still complies to the philosophy it had when they were racing side-by-side with Bridgestone. Of course the accidents happened when already at full lean and on gas application so it's not about turn-in but gassing it out. Just sayin'.


February 26, 2015 3:57 PM

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