Michelin preview Argentinian MotoGP
Michelin is taking the long journey over the Equator as it heads to Argentina in South America for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship and its debut at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit following an impressive result that the French company achieved at the season-opener in Qatar.
The Argentinian track is one of the fastest on the calendar and a true test of riders and tyres alike. With its fast sweeping corners – some with very noticeably high cambers – and hard-braking areas, mean that the 4,806m long circuit will certainly give extra demands to the tyres that Michelin will take to the event.
The long turn-six and turn-eleven left-handers will undoubtedly be a true test due to the high temperatures the tyres will generate, but with nine right-hand bends and just five left-handers, the overall usage on either side of the tyre will be comparable, and will need careful tyre management from the riders to get the best from their machines as the race progresses.
Michelin will take two front tyre selections for the race weekend, these will be the hard option Michelin Power Slick – identified by the yellow band on the tyre wall and a medium option Michelin Power slick – which will have no band applied to it. For the rear, the hard compound Michelin Power Slick will be available for all riders – complete with its yellow side-wall stripe – along with the medium compound version, which like the front will have no identifying band. For the first time this season the rain and intermediate tyres will be available, should the weather play a part in proceedings. The soft Michelin Power Rain will have a blue stripe for both front and rear, with the hard version having no band, whilst the Michelin Power Inter will show a silver line on the side of both tyres.
The Termas de Río Hondo Circuit was constructed in 2007 and opened the following year. It is one of the few tracks on the calendar that Michelin has never competed on, so this weekend will be yet another chapter in the French tyre company’s rich history. MotoGP made its debut in 2014, with Honda’s Marc Marquez taking victory, whilst Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi secured the win last year.
Located just outside of the city which gives the venue its name, the circuit is in the Province of Santiago del Estero and approximately 1,100km from the country’s capital of Buenos Aires.
The weekend’s action will get underway on Friday 1st April with two Free Practice sessions, the first of which takes place just before midnight, AEDT. Sunday’s race will start around 5am Monday morning, AEST.
Nicolas Goubert – Director of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group
“Argentina is a big challenge for us because it wasn’t on the calendar when we were last in MotoGP and we have only had a one-day test there. Since then our project has evolved quite a lot, so it is a real challenge to decide which tyre to build. We will be assessing the situation all weekend and analysing all the data intensely. The track seems to be very challenging for the front tyres, with tremendous wear. We have got ready some robust solutions so that we are able to have a good race and make it as competitive as possible.”
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group
“This is the first time we have been to this circuit in Argentina to race, but it is very significant for us because South America is a vital market for Michelin, so this is an extremely important race. People there love motorbike racing, from Dakar rally raids to MotoGP they have a passion for two-wheel sport and I’m sure the festive atmosphere in Termas de Río Hondo for the Grand Prix will certainly be special. The race track is very close to Andes mountain range and the weather could also be a big factor, because at this time of the year it is could be very hot or extremely cold, so we also have to see what this brings. The whole event is not an easy one from a logistical point of view due to the geographic locations, but I’m sure it will be worth it as I hear the meat and barbeques are spectacular!”