Michelin Yart Test

Words: |on Pearson Pies: lasori Crilchen

The Michelin Power Research Team, which develops tyres in the World Endurance Championship, has stepped into the rote previously fuHulled by Rossi and Pedrosa et al in MotoGP, as the pinnacle of the French tyre manufacturer's R&D, The Yamaha Austria endurance team is part of that research mechanism - JP humbly joins in

The Michelin Power Research Team, which develops tyres in the World Endurance Championship, has stepped into the rote previously fuHulled by Rossi and Pedrosa et al in MotoGP, as the pinnacle of the French tyre manufacturer's R&D, The Yamaha Austria endurance team is part of that research mechanism - JP humbly joins in

For the tyre you need to go fast. Don't go slow." That's the undeniable truth according to Yamaha Austria Racing Team's Michetin tyre technician, Richard Rodrigues, I'm riding down Magny Cours pit-lane tor the first time in my life, on a world-championship-winning endurance race bike, on the best motorcycle tyres Michelin is currently pumping out of Clermont Ferrand. and a smiley little Frenchman has just told me not to go slow.

"Don 'f go slow, don't go stow, don't go slow," I tell myself. Except, it occurs to me, who wouldn't go slow under these circumstances?! An idiot? A robot?Asupersport racer? I do my best, but my in-built anti-crash mechanism (I calL it my throttle hand| tells me that jumping on a strange (valuable] bike, on a strange track on strange Ivery limited-

edition) tyres, needs more respect than that.

This French F1 circuit is a big and very fast place- two corners in, and you're accelerating round an increasing-radius through fourth, fifth 3nd top. That's not to mention being on track with a team of super-fast, super-slick endurance racers from the YART team and Michelin's Power Research endurance race team cum tyre development crew. This is the front-line of where your sportsbike tyres are being developed in 200?, and they're coming at me like stealth bombers. I'm not going slow, but if it's all the same with you. Monsiuer Rodrigues. I'll do a lap or two looking over my shoulder a bit before I get my head down.

From this slightly uncomfortable standpoint, I'm trying to learn about this bike and these tyres. Going not-fast from the off makes the tyres feel like the tyre-warmers haven't been on long enough; that the pressures are set low and they aren't warm enough, which is to say they feel a bit squidgy. They grip like hell but that's part of the problem because they are flexing too much; steering is wallowy, and they're sort of bouncing out the corners under power.

Faster for Longer

The aim of all tyre development is to make the tyre perform at its optimum level for as long as is needed. As long as is needed is the key. Longevity is the factor that most limits grip - a phenomenally grippy race qualifier won't last very long at all, but your road louring tyre will last thousands of miles. As far as race tyres go, the endurance tyre should be the equivalent of the touring tyre, hard-wearing

After initial unease, JP finds not-Slow' is not such a tough demand

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