The 2020 season is heading towards its final curtain and the last round will be on a new track for MotoGP, the Algarve circuit in Portimao. A track just over 4.5 kilometres in length, with 9 curves to the right and 6 to the left, a long straight, but above all large variations in gradient, so much so that the riders say it’s a bit of a roller coaster.
Tackling a new track adds a lot of difficulty to Michelin, especially in a season where testing has been limited. The tests carried out a few weeks ago by the riders (but with production bikes) and by the test riders on the MotoGP bikes helped to salvage the situation for the French tyre manufacturer.
However, the tyre options will be different from usual for this weekend, as the regulation provides for an exemption when MotoGP debuts at a new circuit. This means that the riders will be able to choose between 4 different tyres on the front and as many on the rear instead of the usual 3.
As for the front, soft, medium and hard compounds with symmetric construction will be available, plus a hard one with asymmetric construction, while for the rear it is exactly the opposite: soft, medium and hard will be asymmetric plus a fourth symmetric hard option. .
Considering that FP1 and FP2 will be longer than usual, the riders will also have a greater number of tyres to use than normal, so 12 (instead of 10) front and 14 (instead of 12) rear.
In case it rains, the wet tyres will be available in soft and medium compounds, both for the front (symmetric) and the rear (asymmetric).
“This is an exciting way to bring the season to a climax, with a visit to a brand new circuit and the challenge faced by that – declared Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager – It is always a very intriguing and intense time when we go somewhere for the first time, as we only have test data so are somewhat working blind without any substantial race information. That said though, we had a really good and positive test both with the MotoGP racers on road bikes and the test riders using the machines that will be raced this weekend and we have chosen the compounds based on the data gathered from all riders and motorcycles. The track looks very spectacular and we are looking forward to racing there. It’s a shame there won’t be any spectators to make it a real season ending race, but in today’s climate this is something we have to accept and Michelin will be doing all it can to give all the fans watching at home a really good race to see out this unusual year.”