MotoGP Jerez Test
Michelin's MotoGP riders finished 2007 with a rousing performance at Jerez, taking the first four places in the final test session of the year and putting them in confident mood for 2008.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) topped the times
with a scintillating lap, 0.84 seconds inside his pole position lap at last March's Spanish GP, with Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) a close second, just ahead of impressive MotoGP rookies Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin).
All four riders rode their best times on qualifying tyres but also performed impressively with race tyres, thanks to improved compounds and constructions from Michelin.
“We brought a lot of new tyres to Jerez because this test was so crucial – the data we got here is vital because it helps us to keep working during the winter break,” said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. “We tried new constructions, new compounds, new fronts and new rears, both 16.5 inch and 16 inch. We tried a new front construction that gives our riders better contact feeling and improved handling. We also tried new rears, working at increasing edge grip and traction in order to improve overall performance. We made some major forward steps on rear construction and we also tried some new compounds with this new construction. Dani worked with the 16 rear as well as the 16.5 rear and now believes the 16 has very good potential, though Nicky is still the most enthusiastic about this tyre.
Dani said the 16 has got great traction, though he wants us to work some more on stability. He is very keen to try the tyre again at Sepang in January. Dani also told us that we have improved tyre warm-up, which is good news, so we will try these tyres again at Sepang, with higher track temperatures, and test their consistency. We were also impressed by Lorenzo, who did a very good long-distance run. These tests have given us some very good data and feedback. Now we will keep working during the winter break, continuing what we started here and perfecting our latest tyres for Sepang.”
Pedrosa, recent winner of the season-ending Valencia GP where he secured second place in the World Championship, spent the final day focusing on tyre tests with his 2007 RCV, allowing him to make direct comparisons with last season's performance.
“At this test we have had some good material from Michelin, so we've been able to make quite a lot of progress,” said Dani Pedrosa. “Now the engineers must continue working to improve the machine and the tyres so we will have the best possible package for next year. Michelin is putting in a great effort, for sure they are as determined as we are to be totally competitive from the first race of 2008. It's a two-way process and we must work together – we give Michelin all the information they need for their development and in return they will bring us the tyre performance we require. I'm confident that both Michelin and Honda have the skill and the desire to make this happen.”
Hayden meanwhile focused on set-up experiments with the 2008 RCV and recorded his fastest lap on the new machine. “We found some good tyres at this test, so it's been a positive test,” said the 2006 MotoGP World Champion. “I've got a lot of faith in Michelin – I know they want to fight back and win this championship as much as Honda and I do. Sure, we still have some work to do and I've certainly seen a lot of work going in through the last part of the season and during these first winter tests. We've been making progress at each test and that's what we'll have to keep doing – keep our heads down and chip away. Michelin is a great company with so much experience and know-how, so I'm happy we're in this fight together.”
Reigning 250 World Champion Lorenzo completed his third MotoGP test in buoyant mood. “I felt very comfortable on the bike here and was very happy with my pace in my race simulation,” said Lorenzo. “We now have better rear traction, thanks to some new tyres from Michelin, so I'm satisfied.”
MotoGP now commences its traditional mid-winter testing moratorium. Testing resumes at Sepang, Malaysia, on January 22/23/24.