Silverstone a unique challenge for Michelin MotoGP tyres
Silverstone’s 5,902m layout is the longest circuit on the calendar as well as one of the fastest and with a total of 18 corners, most of them flowing and fast, this usually adds up to quick lap-times and competitive racing.
The long and rolling nature of the track, coupled with the medium abrasiveness of the surface will make tyre durability an important factor this weekend and with many straight sections featuring hard braking zones, front-end stability will be another crucial aspect.
With all these features, combined with Silverstone’s position as one the most northerly circuits of the year, only Assen is further north, the selection of Michelin tyres has been chosen to cover all eventualities, even the vagaries of the British weather.
The choice of Michelin Power Slicks will feature three front tyres in soft (identified by a white band), medium (no band) and hard (yellow band), whilst the two rears will use compounds especially dedicated to the Silverstone track.
With 10 right-hand turns the rear tyres, in soft (white band) and medium (no band), will have an asymmetric design featuring a harder right shoulder, with the softer side designed to warm-up quicker through the eight left-handers.
With wet weather always a possibility in England, the Michelin Power Rain will be available in full wet extra soft (light blue band) and full wet soft (blue band) front varieties, along with a wet medium (no band) version. These will be accompanied by rear tyres in a soft (blue band) full wet compound and a hard wet (no band) version. The Michelin Power Inter (silver band) will also be available and with the changeable weather that is ever likely at Silverstone this tyre could play an important role.
The Northamptonshire circuit is set in the heart of England and has a proud motorcycle and car Grand Prix history, with many great battles taking place on track over the years. The latest configuration features the Complex section, but world famous corners such as Luffield, Woodcote and Maggots still feature in the layout to add to the excitement. Silverstone is situated approximately 130km north of London, and 100km south of Birmingham, a large crowd is always expected at the extensive and open circuit.
Michelin and the MotoGP field will take to the track on Friday morning for the first of two free practice sessions on that day, followed by another free practice session the following morning. Two qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon will decide the grid positions for Sunday’s 20-lap race. The MotoGP stars will battle it out in the main event at a different start-time to the usual Grand Prix schedule, as the lights will change to go at 1530 local time on Sunday, that is 0030 Monday morning for us bloodshot eyed poor souls on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Prior to the weekend’s racing, the festivities will begin on Thursday 1st September at Silverstone, with the traditional Day of Champions. This fantastic auction event raises much needed funds for Two Wheels for Life and has become an important part of the British Grand Prix. Michelin will be participating in the day by donating a replica MotoGP tyre, which will be signed by all the riders and auctioned on stage. For more details on the event visit www.twowheelsforlife.org.uk
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group
“Silverstone is one of the hardest races for us to get ready for as we never know what type of weather to expect in England. The circuit is quite exposed so if it rains it can be cold and windy as well, but if the sun shines and it is warm the track can get very hot.
“It’s also a technical circuit with a fast average speed and lots of rolling corners, so we need to have tyres that can cope with all these factors and possible changes in weather and temperatures.
“We have brought rear compounds that we believe will work very well, they are based on the construction that was so successful in the dry at Brno, which saw both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo go under the outright best lap record, so we know these are already in the performance range we require for this circuit.
“Again after all the unusual weather we have had recently, we would really like that to carry on at Silverstone and it to be unusually nice for the whole weekend!”