It's the home round, so one more reason not to make a bad impression. As well as the fight for the title, the Le Mans race will see the spotlight turned on the Michelin tyres, which have caused more than a few problems for teams and riders during this first part of the season. The French track, 4185 mt. in length, has a stop-and-go layout that requires hard braking and acceleration. The nine right-handers and five left-handers do not result in particular tyre consumption. For the event, Michelin will offer two new rear tyres that are characterised by an asymettrical design, never used before now.
These are a soft tyre (white band) and a medium solution (with no band) with the same carcass. In terms of front tyre, riders can choose between hard, medium and soft, with the latter including an even softer compound able to deal with cold temperatures. If there's rain, the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres, soft (blue band) and hard (no band) will be used.
The fifth round of the MotoGP world championship will play out on the Bugatti circuit, a track located inside the 24-Hour circuit and that takes its name from Ettore Bugatti, the famous car designer and manufacturer. The layout includes a section of that used for the historic car race, plus a separate section. The French manufacturer has enjoyed considerable success at the track, with 24 wins in the reigning two-wheeled class, and 18 consecutive wins in the Le Mans 24-hours from 1988.
But one shouldn't trust the weather, which could play a fundamental role, as confirmed by Nicolas Goubert: “The weather is alwas highly unstable – he explains – so we need to be ready for rain, sun, but also high and low temperatures. This is a fundamental aspect, much more significant than grip, which doesn't seem to be a problem for the tyre”.
Piero Taramasso is convinced that Michelin will be able to handle any situation: “We have a vast array of tyres for every weather condition – he commented – during this season, there's often a risk of rain, but I'm sure we'll be able to deal with it”.