For Michelin men
Michelin had high hopes of another strong race at the Sachsenring today after packing the front of the grid with five riders in the top six in yesterday's qualifying session.
But race day turned out to be a very different story, with heavy rain falling
soon after noon and the race getting underway on a soaking track.
At first, things looked good for Michelin. World Championship leader Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) set a lightning-fast pace in the soaking conditions, pulling away from eventual winner Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici) at the rate of more than a second a lap. The Spaniard said he had a good feeling from the front tyre and was thus surprised when he lost front grip at the start of the sixth lap and crashed.
At the end of the 30 laps Michelin were disappointed to have only two riders in the top eight, MotoGP rookie Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) coming home fifth in his first wet MotoGP race, Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) finishing eighth, just one tenth of a second behind Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R).
"The race turned out to be really difficult for us," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "At the beginning of the race when the rain was quite heavy Dani was able to go very fast. After five laps he was already more than seven seconds ahead of Casey Stoner and he said he had good feeling with the tyres. Unfortunately he crashed while braking into the first corner.
We are disappointed with the result, mainly because we've had comments from several riders explaining that rear tyre grip wasn't good enough for them to run the rhythm of the race. Now we need to speak more deeply with them so we can try to understand where that lack of grip came from, whether it is a problem specific to the Sachsenring, because at other tracks this year we have had better grip in wet conditions. Today we used medium-range tyres today because we didn't know whether the rain would get heavier or lighter. Should we have used softer tyres ? Now we will sit around the table with our riders and we will work to improve the situation."