This weekend the Chang International Circuit will host a Grand Prix for the first time, but the 4554 metres of the Thai track will not come as a complete surprise to the MotoGP riders and Michelin technicians, as they conducted a test earlier in the year. Those tests provided important information thanks to which the men of Clermont-Ferrand have been able to decide what tyres to bring for the race, although conditions will likely be different to how they were in February.
There is a new rear tyre that has been specially constructed in order to cope with the high temperatures of Buriram. As it is a new track on the calendar, Michelin has asked to be able to offer 4 different rear solutions rather than the 3 foreseen by the regulation, so there will be 2 different medium compounds, a soft and a hard. All of these will have an asymmetric construction with a harder right side, considering there are 7 right-handers and 5 left.
As for front tyres, riders will have the usual three options (soft, medium and hard), with an asymmetric construction. In case of rain (possible, seeing as it is monsoon season), Michelin will bring medium and hard symmetric front tyres, while at the rear the soft rain tyre will be asymmetric and the medium symmetrical.
Manager Piero Taramasso outlines the difficulties of the Buriram track: “We had the pre-season test at Buriram and got some really valuable information. We have brought specific rears to this race which have been purposely designed for this track – the same as what we do in Austria and Australia, because these are very unusual circuits and require special tyres. These are completely new and were designed after the test, but before we had to give the allocation for the season, so we have two mediums, as this will allow us to decide which is the compound best suited to the track and assist with next year’s allocation. It will also give all the riders the best options to get the most from their respective bikes."
Taramasso is also aware that it might rain.
“it is the monsoon season in Thailand and there is a chance of wet weather. We hope this isn’t the case, but if it does we have a range of rain tyres that should be able to cope with whatever nature sends our way."