Michelin is on the way to the Far East as it travels to Motegi for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan and round 15 of the MotoGP™ Championship for a race that signals the first of a triple-header of long-haul races over three weekends.
Japan, Australia and Malaysia await Michelin on the tour, with the 4,801m Twin Ring Motegi track being the first venue to welcome the French tyre specialists. The Japanese circuit features hard-braking zones and many acceleration sectors over its technical and medium abrasive surface that will certainly give a thorough and intensive test to the MICHELIN Power Slicks. With the increased braking and acceleration needed, the centre of the tyres will be the most important aspect of the rubber and Michelin will be supplying tyres to manage the circuit’s layout and also cope with the lower temperatures that can be expected at this time of the year. For the front the choice will be the soft (white band), medium (no band) and hard (yellow band) compounds, whilst the rears will be soft (white band) and medium (no band) versions both featuring an asymmetric design with a harder right-hand shoulder. With rain always a threat in Japan in October, Michelin will have the soft full wet (blue band) and medium wet (no band) for both the front and rear, along with the Intermediate front and rear tyres (silver band) for any changeable conditions.
The Twin Ring Motegi circuit is located approximately three hours’ drive north of Tokyo, between the cities of Mito and Utsunomiya. The circuit was opened in 1997 and joined the MotoGP calendar in 1999. It features six left-hand corners and eight right-hand ones over its technical layout, including the perfectly-named 90-degree corner, which is a top-speed downhill run into a hard braking right-hander. This turn, along with others on the layout, will put the front tyre under intense stress as the stability that is needed from the huge stopping power of a MotoGP bike is fundamental through these corners to give the riders the best handling and braking performance from their respective machines.
Round 15 will get underway on Friday 14th October when Michelin and the MotoGP field will take to the track for two Free Practice sessions. Qualifying for the 24-lap race will take place on Saturday afternoon to decide grid positions. The lights will then change to go and signal the start of the race at 14.00hrs local time (07.00CEST, 06.00BST, 05.00UTC) on Sunday 16th October.
Piero Taramasso - Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“Motegi signals the start of three very intense weeks where we will travel to Japan, Australia and Malaysia. All three of these races bring their own individual challenges, but also a huge logistical task. We will need to have over 4,000 tyres available for the three races, so to make this happen we have had to send some by sea and the rest will be air-freighted to each venue in readiness for the races.
“The track at Motegi is a really technical circuit with a medium abrasive surface that gives good grip levels. It has some very hard-braking zones and acceleration areas that all create intense stresses on the middle of the tyre. To cope with this we have taken a range of tyres that we believe will cope with the stability that is needed for heavy braking. We have not had much testing at Motegi with the GP riders, so we will be working with our usual detailed process with each and every team and rider to make sure they are in the best position for Sunday.”