Michelin, at Jerez, achieved a significant milestone, with its 400th win in the reigning class. To celebrate the event, rider found the Michelin man himself - rubber and bone - beneath the podium. The French manufacturer's first win in the 500 class dates back to 1973, a year in which Jack Findlay won the Tourist Trophy with a Suzuki.
1975 was the season in which Michelin won its first race with slick tyres, a new feature: Barry Sheene scored the victory at Assen. Two years later, the same British rider lifted the title trophy with the French tyres.
1984 brought the first radial tyres; while Freddie Spencer won the Misano GP with the new front tyre, Randy Mamola won at Mugello with two radial tyres just a few months later.
For the stats lovers: the 100th win by Michelin in the top class was scored by Wayne Gardner in Brazil in 1987, the 200th by Mick Doohan (again in Brazil), while number 300 arrived thanks to Sete Gibernau, at Assen in 2003. Before returning to MotoGP as the single supplier, it was Dani Pedrosa at Barcelona in 2008 who brought the Clermont-Ferrand manufacturer its last win.
Calculator at the ready, between 1973 and 2008 (so not during the single- tyre period), Michelin won 73% of the races it participated in in the reigning class. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki andCagiva all won during that period, while an interesting result was the victory scored by the Sanvenero, ridden by Michel Frutschi in the 1982 French GP.
“I would also like to congratulate all the team and all our predecessors as we reach this amazing milestone of 400 premier class Grand Prix wins. This is an incredible feat and one that I am very proud to be a part of", underlines Piero Taramasso.
The Michelin manager is not only pleased about past results, but also with type performance during the Spanish GP.
“This weekend has been another big step forward for us, the Jerez circuit has always been a track that loses grip as the temperatures rise and even with the new surface this was the case, but we brought a range of tyres which we knew could cope with this and it proved to be the case. We saw a good race and again the majority of the compounds we supplied were used, with the front three riders all on different variations and four different manufacturers finishing in the top-four positions. Yesterday was also a very important step, as we broke another outright lap record, this justifies that again the race tyres are also working as qualifying tyres and gives the riders the optimum choice."