The triple-header that sees the MotoGP travel from Japan to Malaysia via Australia is one that puts both man and machine, but also tyres, to the test. Michelin will take on this challenge for the first time in years and tyre performance is the only worry.
“This is a huge logistical task - explains Michelin manager Piero Taramasso - 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."
First up is Motegi.
“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.”
In terms of the available options (summarised in the image here below), there will be three different front compounds: soft, medium and hard. At the rear, riders can choose between soft and hard, both asymmetric with a harder right shoulder.