Michelin is taking its first overseas trip since April as the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship heads away from mainland Europe and over the English Channel for a date with the newly resurfaced Silverstone Circuit in England and the GoPro British Grand Prix.
This will be another new challenge for the French tyre company as it travels to a circuit with completely fresh asphalt for the second year in succession, armed with very little information as no tests were able to be carried out prior to the forthcoming race weekend. The 5,900m circuit – the longest and one of the fastest on the calendar – in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside, was completely resurfaced last year, but issues with drainage following heavy rain on race day in 2018 caused the cancellation of the race and the subsequent laying of another new surface. To combat the latest asphalt, Michelin named a range of four front and four rear slick tyres during the pre-season allocation, which is allowed within the rules of MotoGP if a circuit has not been tested on. This range will see soft, medium and two versions of hard compound for both the front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks. The front medium and hard compounds will be symmetric, whilst the front soft and all the rears will be asymmetric with a harder right-hand-side to manage the 10 corners that travel in that direction and although there are 8 lefts making the design of the circuit almost symmetric, there is more stress put on the right side of the tyre so the harder rubber is needed to give optimum performance.
As was demonstrated last season, wet weather can be expected at any time during a British summer, so the range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres could be called into operation at any moment during the weekend. The allocation will feature symmetric soft and medium front tyres, with asymmetric soft and medium rears with the harder right-hand-side like their slick counterparts.
Michelin will get its first taste of the new Silverstone circuit on Friday 23rd August when the MotoGP field will take to the track for the two Free Practice sessions. Saturday will have more practices before the excitement of Qualifying takes centre stage as the riders aim for the best grid positions for the 20-lap race. Sunday’s schedule will have a different running order and timetable to usual, with the main event preceding Moto2™ this weekend and getting underway at 13.00hrs local time (14.00hrs CEST, 12.00hrs GMT/UST) on Sunday 25th August.
Silverstone will also see the now traditional staging of the ‘Day of Champions’ on the Thursday before the race weekend. This is where riders give their time and items of memorabilia to be auctioned live on stage in a specially prepared area to raise money for an important charity. Michelin will again be supplying a replica MotoGP tyre which will be signed by all the riders and then auctioned on the day, for more information on this event and the charity involved and its work visit www.twowheelsforlife.org
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“It was a huge disappointment for all involved with what happened last year at Silverstone, but the circuit has done a good job and had it totally resurfaced, but this means we are heading there with no knowledge of how the surface will actually perform. The range of tyres that we have selected is based on data supplied to us from the company that laid the asphalt, so we have some information of what types of stones and other materials have been used to make up the surface. It is always a challenge to go somewhere we haven’t tested at; this is why we had it placed in the rules that we could take four tyres to give the riders every opportunity to find the best compound for them and their bike. We are confident with our allocation and are looking forward to see how the new surface behaves, we have initial good reports, but want to experience it for ourselves, and of course we are certainly hoping for good weather, but we are going to England so who knows what will happen!”
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