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MotoGP, Michelin: "In Barcelona we will have to watch out for tyres spinning"

Piero Taramasso: "Calibration of traction control and anti-skid will be essential on the Catalan circuit, where the asphalt is so smooth that the bikes can have spinning at the rear on the straight."

MotoGP: Michelin:

Although relatively new, having been built in 1991 in preparation for the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit has hosted MotoGP every year since 1996 and in 2023 saw most of its previous records broken. In the past edition of the Catalunya GP, Francesco Bagnaia in fact set the new all-time lap record during Qualifying, stopping the clock in 1'38"639, while Aleix Espargaro broke the top speed record, with 356.4 km/h.

Considering the number of records broken since the beginning of the year with the new Michelin compounds, it seems obvious that riders will want to try to set new benchmarks. However, this year the Grand Prix returns to its usual place on the calendar in late May, instead of early September as last season. This will mean some changes, particularly in terms of air and ground temperatures, although the weather is still generally mild in Barcelona at this time of year. It should also be remembered that the Catalan circuit has a length of 4.627 kilometers, with six left and eight right turns in addition to a 1,047-meter straight, and it is a track that allows for very high speeds, and numerous overtaking moves, thanks in part to its generous 12-meter width, which allows riders to fully express themselves.

"The tyre stiffness level for this weekend is very close to what we had here last year. As usual, we have three symmetrical compounds for the front tyres (Soft, Medium and Hard), while for the rear we have chosen asymmetrical Soft and Medium compounds, with a harder right shoulder. The Barcelona circuit is very demanding and should not be underestimated," explains Piero Taramasso, Michelin's head of two-wheel racing, "Temperatures are often high and this phenomenon, combined with the demands of the circuit, makes the race difficult to prepare for. In any case, we know the track well and have full confidence in the tyres we will bring. These tyres, combined with the 2024 bikes, should ensure a very high level of performance throughout the weekend. However, while the circuit was resurfaced in 2018, we have noticed that over the years the grip has decreased to a very low level. The asphalt is so smooth that bikes can have spinning at the rear when accelerating down the straight. As a result, riders will have to choose tyres carefully and work on traction control and anti-skid on their bikes. The calibration of these rider aids will be essential. However, we are confident that our Michelin Power Slick ranges will be able to meet the challenges ahead, although the skidding phenomenon will be an important point to monitor to preserve tyre performance over time."

In case of rain, the Michelin Power Rain range will be offered in Soft and Medium compounds for the front and rear. The latter are asymmetrical, with the right side harder, like their slick counterparts.

As for the electric championship, however, MotoE riders will have a harder front tyre available in the third round of the season. "In general, we only have one front tyre for the whole season and the architecture of our MotoE tyres does not change from circuit to circuit," Taramasso pointed out. "However, the Barcelona track configuration is an exception and, like last year, we believe that a compound with more grip at the front is needed. It's about the level of performance and also the safety of the riders, a point on which we never compromise. The level of performance and spectacle in MotoE is getting higher and higher, and we have to go along with this evolution."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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