#JapaneseGP Motegi, Michelin MotoGP preview
Michelin is ready for the busiest three-weeks of the MotoGP™ season as the championship begins a trio of races starting with the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi before heading to Australia and Malaysia respectively on the Pacific Rim tour.
The next three weekends will see Michelin face a triumvirate of racetracks all with very different demands and the first stop-off at Motegi in Japan is a track that has hard braking areas and big acceleration zones, all on an above average abrasive surface. The layout of the 4,801m circuit features four distinctive straights meaning a lot of usage is placed on the centre of the tyre, but due to a lower amount of fast, flowing corners there is not as much stress placed on the rear tyres than there is at other tracks. The configuration with its six left- and eight right-hand turns, places specific demands on the front tyre, with good braking stability and warm-up performance being two important requirements. With these factors to consider, the range of MICHELIN Power Slicks has been chosen to give the optimum performance, durability and consistency for all riders throughout the 24-lap race. The front tyres in the soft, medium and hard compounds will all be symmetric, with the rears having a harder right-hand shoulder to give an asymmetric finish.
Situated between the towns of Mito and Utsunomiya in the northern Kantō region of the Haga District within the Tochigi Prefecture, the Twin Ring Motegi circuit is a purpose-built motorsport venue featuring the road circuit, an oval track, safety and riding school, dirt track, go-karts and the impressive Honda Collection Hall, which is a museum that has a huge collection of motorcycles, cars and racing machines from many disciplines throughout the years. The circuit’s position in this area is surrounded by dense woodland and its location can mean it is susceptible to fog, mist and wet weather and if track conditions require it, then the range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will be available. These will be in a soft and medium compound for both the front and the rear, the front will be symmetrical, whilst the rear will have a harder right-hand-side to give them an asymmetric design like their slick equivalents.
Michelin’s first action on the three-week back-to-back tour will be on Friday 18th October when the riders will take to the track for two Free Practice sessions. Saturday will witness more practice and then the Qualifying to decide grid positions. Round 16 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship is scheduled to get underway at 15.00hrs local time (08.00 CEST, 07.00 BST, 06.00 GMT/UTC).
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This is the second of the four flyaway races and the first of the three-week tour around the Pacific Ocean. This is always a demanding time for logistics and for the different circuits we face. Motegi is a track that demands stability from the front as the riders brake hard into many turns, especially ones such as ’90-degree Corner’, but then they also need the grip from the rear to get the power down to accelerate from these slower corners. We select compounds which we know will meet these requirements and give all the riders the confidence they need to push hard into these corners, while still having total control of their machines. Motegi can also be wet, but after what happened there in 2017, we know how well the rain tyres work, so have no worries about those giving top performance for all.”