French Grand Prix, Le Mans – Michelin MotoGP preview

 In MotoGP, News

Michelin’s next foray into MotoGP™ action sees the French company compete on home soil as the World Championship descends on Le Mans for the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France.

One of the most important races on the calendar for Michelin, Le Mans is also one of the most iconic events of the year. The 4,185m circuit with its five left and nine right turns was resurfaced in late 2016 in readiness for the next season and the new asphalt immediately produced very quick lap-times, resulting in Michelin claiming all the lap and race records since the track was re-laid. The Michelin Power Slick range of tyres for the medium-severity surface will be soft, medium and hard compounds for the front and rear, with the rear versions featuring an asymmetric design with a harder right-hand-side to contend with the extra corners that go in that direction. The front hard will be the new compound that was added to the allocation at the start of the season, whilst the rears will have the new technology compound which was tested in the pre-season and then included in this year’s range. The circuit is very tight and features many lower gear corners which will require good stability from the front Michelin tyres under braking, allied to hard acceleration and traction from the rear tyres, so the allocation for this event has been specifically chosen to meet these requirements.

Le Mans is a very well supported race with one of the most vocal, partisan and colourful gatherings of the season. A huge crowd is expected to pack into the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit – which incorporates parts of the famous 24-Hour track in its layout – but with the position of the track in the Sarthe region of France, wet weather can never be discounted. Should the possibility of precipitation happen, then the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will available in soft and medium compounds to combat any wet conditions that may arise, and as with the slick counterparts, the rear wets will also have an asymmetric finish with a harder right side.

Michelin will take to the track of its home race on Friday morning for the first of two Free Practice sessions on that day, followed by two more practice sessions of the following day. Saturday afternoon will see the intense action of qualifying as the riders battle for the best grid position for the main event. The fifth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship will take place on Sunday 19th May as the lights change to signal the start of the 27-lap race at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs BST, 14.00hrs CEST, 12.00hrs UTC).

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This weekend is one the most important events for us on the calendar. It is our home race so we have the support of the French fans with us and also we have a huge presence from Michelin that come to the race, so we know we have a lot of people that want us to do well, meaning it is imperative that we give them a good show. The Le Mans circuit is one where we have many records and also one which we use a reference because the asphalt is so good since it was resurfaced, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be looking to improve. We have new compounds in the range that were added after the tests at the start of the year and these will certainly help the riders to improve their performances – as happened at Jerez last time out – and add to what promises to be another great event.”

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