Michelin - the 2016 Official Tyre Supplier for MotoGP tests at Sepang
Snapshot: Michelin tests its 2016 rubber for MotoGP at Sepang with the Factory test riders......
The official Sepang 1 test was scheduled for 3 days, starting on 4th Feb, 2015 and ending on 6th, Feb, 2015. Though, the factories stayed back for an another day, the day which was scheduled for the testing of tyres from Michelin which is going to be the official tyre supplier of the MotoGP paddock from 2016. The legal complications of the change from Bridgestone to Michelin mean that the tire test is shrouded in confidentiality, rather than secrecy. This test features only the test riders, all of whom have been barred from talking to the press about the tires.
Due o obvious reasons the lap times were not recorded and hence were not released either, however a few journalists stood at trackside with handheld stopwatches and tried to time riders that way. The secrecy is understandable: Michelin are at a very early stage of their development, and Bridgestone are paying Dorna a hefty sum to be official tire supplier, and want to reap the marketing benefits that should bring. As per what is coming out on the international MotoGP media is that the riders were lapping 1-2 seconds slower than the Bridgestone's, which is spectacular considering the fact that the Bridgestone's have enormous collection of data from their years as the official supplier of MotoGP.
The point of concern was the crashes suffered by riders on turn 5, even after it was clearly cautioned my Michelin to the teams to keep a check for that turn. All the riders suffered crashes on Honda, Yamaha and the Suzuki MotoGP machines. To understand how the testing went, it was Hiroshi Aoyama whose performance can be read as a reference. Aoyama had ridden throughout the previous three days on a Honda RC213V factory bike with the Bridgestone's and His pace suggested that he is a little over a second a lap slower on the Michelins than on the Bridgestone's.
Michelin manager Piero Taramasso told reporters that they had brought seven different front tires and five different rear tires, with the objective of whittling that down to three fronts and three rears for the factory riders to use at the second Sepang test. The feedback from the factory riders will then help define the direction that Michelin will follow for their further development. The basic construction of the tires – casing, compounds, profiles – will be finalized in July. For 2016, Michelin hope to bring three different compounds front and rear for each rider to use at each Grand Prix.
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