After the winter tests, it’s time to get serious, with the first race scheduled for Sunday at the Losail circuit in Qatar. It’ll be the first on the track for the riders, but also an important testing ground for Michelin. For 2021, also given the difficulties in organizing tests, tires have not undergone revolutions, but only an evolution.
The main problem in Qatar is the sand, which makes the asphalt very abrasive, and the drop in temperatures after sunset, which makes it slippery. As per regulations, the riders have three options available (soft, medium, and hard) when it comes to compounds, with the front being soft and the hard symmetrical, while all the other tires are asymmetrical.
Michelin manager Piero Taramasso takes stock of the situation before starting: “I’m very proud of what the Michelin staff has done in Clermont-Ferrand and what they achieved. Despite the difficult circumstances they’ve had to face, while working within the current technical framework, they’ve managed to build on the experience gained in 2020, thoroughly reexamining our range of tires for the MotoGP. Our pre-season testing program helped us achieve our development goals, and the results are extremely encouraging. It means that we’ll be able to provide riders with a simpler and more versatile range that, in turn, will facilitate fine tuning the bike.”
“We also improved the consistency by switching to slightly harder compounds, while maximizing grip and performance,” he added. “ These improvements were praised by the tests in Qatar, where our tires helped set two new MotoGP records for Losail: the fastest lap for the track, which was the work of Ducati team rider Jack Miller, with a time of 1’53”183, and the highest speed ever reached there when Johann Zarco reached 357.6 km/h along the main straight.”