Qatar was also a final test for Michelin, before the season officially gets underway. The three days at Losail round off the pre-season for the French manufacturer and Piero Taramasso is looking confident. They have passed the tests with full marks.
“I have to say we've had three positive tests. At Sepang, we tested two new front tyres which give us confidence, so much so that they will be used this season. In addition to Malaysia, we're also excited about the results obtained in Thailand. We'd never been there before and the feedback was excellent. We're expecting a promising start to the season".
Taramasso and Michelin are thus ready for the championship.
“These tests are enough to give us a general feel for the situation. Then we know that Barcelona has been resurfaced. So we'll carry out a test at the Catalunya track. Silverstone too has new asphalt and we've decided together with Dorna that we'll bring four front and four rear specifications”.
The French manufacturer's aim for the coming season is clear.
“Stability, without a doubt. For this reason, we will provide all of the specifications that will be used throughout the course of the season in advance. Next week, we will inform Dorna of our solutions, and in this way the teams will know the tyres for the whole championship”.
No small thing.
“In this way, teams will know the tyre solutions ahead of the race weekend, so that they can focus exclusively on the bike, without the worry of tyres or any changes from one track to the next. Of course, if there are any issues, we will make careful evaluation and then decide as to any modifications”.
Taramasso explains the motive behind this new approach.
“The riders asked us for it. The best in the world compete in MotoGP and stability is fundamental. So we will work on development, with the help of Kallio and Guintoli, proposing the various options to the teams. In 2018 we will only use tyres that were used during 2017”.
With respect to last season, there aren't any particularly drastic changes then.
“As for the slicks, we'll still have the soft, medium and hard and this goes for front and back. The rain solutions are soft and hard”.
With respect to 2017, there is one new feature regarding the rain tyres.
“The rears will be asymmetric for every track, this differs from what we did last year”.
Finally, a word about the Qatar test.
“The asphalt at Losail is very abrasive, because the wind carries sand onto the track. Sensations are better than last year though, also because the track seems cleaner. The test in the wet? It wasn't for the tyres, but to understand visibility”.