On the MotoGP spherical for which they’re title sponsor, Michelin introduced that it has prolonged its contract as official tire provider to MotoGP for an additional 5 years. As such, the French tire producer will proceed to be the only tire provider till the top of the 2023 season.
The information didn’t come as a shock. Dorna has made no secret of how pleased it has been with the job Michelin have finished for them, in serving to to make the MotoGP collection a a lot nearer and thrilling championship.
Through the press convention held to announce the deal, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta lauded the truth that there had been 9 race winners in 2016, saying “it is a championship of bikes and of riders”. Ezpeleta added “We’re pleased Michelin has helped the competitiveness of the championship.”
Extending the contract with Michelin brings stability to the championship, one thing the factories have been eager to take care of, because it permits them to focus their improvement on making the tires work with their bikes with out worrying that tires would change if a brand new producer got here into the collection.
Dorna was significantly happy with the best way Michelin had responded to issues and to requests from the riders and from Dorna, Ezpeleta stated. Ezpeleta famous the enlargement of the allocation from two to a few rear tire compounds for example.
For Michelin, the extension of 5 years was a welcome present of confidence from Dorna. The French tire producer sees many advantages from racing. Within the press convention, Director of Michelin Motorsport Pascal Couasnon defined their motives for going racing.
“We race for 2 primary issues,” Couasnon stated. “Clearly, the affiliation of racing with the model is vital. However technical enchancment can be vital. Whenever you race, you might be in excessive situations and also you study rather a lot. Studying about grip, studying about fixed efficiency with longevity are key areas which we wish to switch in a short time.”
These technical developments had been one of many causes Michelin had requested Dorna to change to 17-inch tires once they took over from Bridgestone as official tire provider.
Requested for examples, Nicolas Goubert, Michelin Racing Technical Director cited analysis into compounds, which was beginning to make its approach into manufacturing slicks.
“Compound know-how developed right here goes into a variety of business slicks out there from subsequent 12 months,” he stated. “A few of these had been out there on the Bol d’Or this 12 months. However have to attend a bit longer for actual manufacturing tires.”
Expertise switch is without doubt one of the causes Michelin had no real interest in offering qualifiers, Goubert defined. “We do racing to develop know-how for the manufacturing tires. That’s one of many causes we requested Carmelo to go to 17-inch tires, to have the ability to switch know-how very simply.”
“We made the purpose firstly of the season, when Carmelo’s crew requested us to convey extra tire specs particularly on the rear, to verify we might not convey a tire solely made for qualification.”
“So we made certain that each one three specs may do the race with not less than just a few riders. That is what’s taking place, and it’s what has made the racing nearer in some circumstances. If we go to qualification tires, we go far-off from know-how you employ on the road. So it’s not inside our goal to come back again to that.”
It was additionally a query of price range, Pascal Couasnon added. “On the finish, you’ve a price range, which is signification however affordable. What we wish to do is use that cash for one thing very helpful.”
“So we want to make use of that to convey a 3rd a spec for the rear than to convey a qualifying tire. As a result of we imagine that’s extra helpful to present a chance to as many riders as attainable to win.”
There have additionally been issues with the Michelin tires, particularly with respect to high quality management. Riders have persistently complained that two tires with the identical specification can really feel completely different once they get out on observe.
Riders have additionally repeatedly referred to hoping to be fortunate in getting a ‘good’ tire with regards to race day. Figuring out the exact explanation for an issue will be troublesome. With tires which are so supremely delicate to temperature, even small adjustments in dealing with can have an enormous impact.
The best way tire heaters are used, the period of time a tire is left uncovered within the pits, riders driving slowly on sections on the observe can have an impact.
Temperature sensitivity is a matter, however for the primary time, each Michelin and Dorna acknowledged their had been issues with the consistency of the tires.
Carmelo Ezpeleta named high quality management as the principle focus for Dorna and Michelin going ahead. In response to a query about high quality management, Nicolas Goubert went into some element on the problem.
“High quality is vital in racing, and it’s key for manufacturing tires as nicely,” Goubert instructed the press convention. “It’s a part of the Michelin picture to have the ability to present prime quality tires at very excessive requirements. And naturally we’re doing all the pieces to ship the identical right here.”
“As was talked about, the technical problem was very excessive to come back again right here and I feel after two years we made super enchancment. A lot of the groups now are asking for stability for the kind of tires we convey, however as Carmelo identified, we nonetheless have some work to do by way of high quality points.”
“We’ve improved so much in comparison with one-and-a-half years in the past, however generally as we speak we nonetheless have some criticism or requests from the riders, saying that the efficiency of such-and-such tires will not be the identical.”
“Generally it’s not all the time true, however generally it’s true, so we’ve got to make all the pieces attainable to search out out the place it comes from and to cease it from taking place once more.”
“We’re working very exhausting with the factories to manage that and guarantee that all the pieces single tire of the identical specification presents the identical efficiency for the riders.”
Michelin was specializing in the small print of the manufacturing and dealing with course of in an try and eradicate the variations, Goubert defined.
“Superb tuning the method, ensuring that each element is strictly the identical, that all the pieces is finished in the identical approach, principally placing all the pieces we are able to below management,” he stated.
This text was initially printed on MotoMatters, and is republished right here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the writer.