Motor sport

Michelin will start testing the new MotoGP front slick next month

The French company’s in-house test riders are already evaluating the new slick and, if they give the green light, the tire will be tried by MotoGP factory test riders – Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori, Ducati’s Michele Pirro , Honda’s Stefan Bradl and so on – in October. , while the MotoGP paddock is busy racing in the Far East.

If the test riders agree, the MotoGP grid will have the chance to try the tire at the one-day post-season testing in Valencia on November 8.

The concept of the new tire is to make it less sensitive to increases in temperature and pressure, which is the problem with the current tire: when a rider catches up with a rival and approaches the machine in front, his front tire overheats and loses adhesion. , so it can’t attack. This is why MotoGP races are often more of a procession than a battle. The tire will also operate at lower pressure than the current minimum of 1.9 bar, for best performance.

“The target is 1.7 bar and to make the tire less sensitive to temperature and pressure changes,” said Piero Taramasso, Michelin’s motorsport manager at the Red Bull Ring. “The tire will be very different, with a new profile and it will be made with different materials.

Michelin’s current front slick is five years old and wasn’t designed to deal with a lot of downforce

michelin

Although Michelin has been criticized in recent years for the performance of its current front slick, as the extra loads imposed by the latest technology have overwhelmed the tyre, Taramasso sees the issue from a different perspective.

“When you have a tire control championship, manufacturers have to design their bikes around the tires,” added Taramasso. “But adding all the aero and the devices, they’re not designing their bikes around the tires.”

That’s a fair point. Many riders and builders complain that the Michelin front end is not up to par with the machine, but that may be because the builders worked against the tires, not with the tires.

Michelin don’t know when the new front will be race ready, but it certainly won’t be next year, as the front tires take much longer to set up than the rear tires, as they are much more critical. from all points of view. .