Brno Michelin Test A Washout

The post-race Michelin tests have been something of a frustration for journalists following MotoGP. With riders barred from speaking publicly about the tires, and no official timing for the tests, it has been hard to make sense of the events. Today's Brno test was even more frustrating. Rain all day, alternating between heavy downpours and a very light drizzle meant that the track was more or less wet all day. The riders stayed in their garages and race trucks, for the most part, with a handful of riders putting in a handful of laps.

Though the test was mostly a washout for Michelin, the French tire manufacturer did get some useful data from the test. Riders went out on three types of tire: slicks, wets, and intermediates, in varying conditions. The return of the intermediates is an interesting step, a tire which uses the hard rain compound with a minimal tread compound. ace shooter Scott Jones snapped photos of both the intermediate and wet rears for comparison, and posted them on Twitter:

Despite the fact that the factory Honda and factory Yamaha riders were present - Yamaha even had a 2016 prototype at the test - none of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi or Jorge Lorenzo put any laps in. Pedrosa was of course already injured, and Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez are all engaged in the fight for the championship, and cannot afford to take risks in tricky conditions for the sake of some tire testing. MotoGP's other factories did send their riders out, Andrea Dovizioso going out on the Ducati, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista on the Aprilia, and Aleix Espargaro on the Suzuki.

Most of the laps were put in by the satellite riders, though, with the two Tech 3 riders, Cal Crutchlow and the Pramac men circulating sporadically. The Pramac Ducati riders appeared to do the most laps, though given the absence of timing, this is more judging by appearance than by actual numbers.

Fortunately, the next time there is a public test of the Michelins, there will be full live timing available. That will be at the Valencia test, the Monday after the 2015 season ends. That sees the dawning of the new Michelin era, and a rather sad goodbye to Bridgestone.

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Are they 17's or 16.5's?
A few laps I imagine is better than nothing, for the sake of research, feedback, wear, etc.., data.

Imagine if the factories were free to use any tyre from any manufacturer? But! How do we stop the mid night specials problem from reoccurring?

1. Any tyre any manufacturer;
2. Riders can nominate a tyre swap with another rider up to in a period less than 1 hour and greater than 20 minutes prior to the race;
3. Maximum of two swap requests per team (ballot box style nomination if more than one request is received).

Can you imagine the spectacle of watching the teams racing up and down pit lane changing tyres?

It will NEVER happen but it would be fun to watch.

1. Any tyre any manufacturer

- would be great if a rider could use BS for one track or condition, or a Mich or dunlop for opthers depending on their choice.

"But! How do we stop the mid night specials problem from reoccurring?"

Tyre allocation is scrutineered on the Thursday and no new tyres allowed afterwards - simples!

But it will NEVER happen :(

the Michelins?

I remember Lorenzo orbiting earth quite a few times on Michelins and MM has no experience on them but a test or two.

I'm thinking the likes of Rossi and Pedrosa may have an edge on the French stuff. Doubt Marquez will get away riding like he does without joining Lorenzo in the solar system.

Michelins = stick, stick, stick, BOOM!

According to SpeedWeek he didn't test at all. He has no experience with the Michelins and no experience riding the Aprilia in the wet so they decided against it.

Bautista tested a new fairing as well as the tyres.

From my recollection the consensus is the Michelin offers much more rear grip with the front not being as stable as the BStone. Possibly due to more carcass flex. My thoughts are that the Honda and Ducati will suffer most due to the style of riding required from their bike designs. They will not be able to use the brake as late as possible and power it out riding style. I feel like the front will collapse too much and then they're going to wheelie on the way out. I think Lorenzo will adapt the quickest and pull out an early advantage next year. The Yamaha, Suzuki, and Aprilia will have less trouble. Coming from my crystal ball ;)

My 2c

In regards to rear grip it's hard to make like for like comparisons as we have no idea what compound Michelin brought to testing. What kind of grip are we talking about? Edge grip or drive grip? Compared to a 16.5" tire, a 17" tire with the same overall diameter will have a contact patch that is longer and thinner which would mean better drive grip, but most likely less edge grip. This would suit a point and shoot style better which actually plays into Honda's hands, not Yamaha's. If Bridgestone were to give their super soft rear slick complete with soft edge to the factory riders to try, would they still say 'the Michelin rear gives better grip'? Hard to say.

The front tire situation is more clear as this is clearly a construction, not a compound issue for Michelin. Given their front tire deficiencies I would assume corner-entry speed on the Michelins is a LOT less than the Bridgestones. So this perceived improvement in rear grip might be more to do with feel than reality. If you're 10km/h slower through the apex and twist the throttle it will feel you're getting better drive out of the corners simply because you were slower to begin with.

The carcass flex mentioned would also improve rear grip but at the same time, cause more degradation as it would work the rubber tread harder over race distance.

In any case, looking forward to how it all pans out. It might not shake up the order but at the very least should create some surprising results next year!

I am in somewhere inbetween with Lorenzo.

On one side, I believe that he may get along with the Michelins, but on the other, I remember someone from the Yamaha garage, which I think might have been Ben Spies, saying that they tried Lorenzo's setup and crashed after what seemes like a coule of corners because no one could understand why Lorenzo's bike was set up like it was and how in the hell he rode it around like that.

Basically, Lorenzo has most of the weight set up on the rear, and with the front mostly unloaded he uses the rear to steer.

Now, if that is true, the rear Michelins might give him trouble, especially with his lean angles and corner speed.

I do think Vale will come to grips with it, because he's an old dog, and has been around on everything, as we all know.

In a way I think, if Lorenzo takes this championship, the Michelins might give Vale a window of opportunity next year.

But in all honesty, it's a matter of we'll know it when we see it.

The Yamaha will favor the Michelin over the Honda approaching the apex, especially Jorge. The construction will be softer so will not favor the front end "smashers" - and will give more feel. The sensitive front end riders will like it. Rossi likes a stiff carcass to pull off battling maneuvers with...slipping ahead on braking and grabbing a handful to block - pass you RIGHT on the limit of adhesion. Rossi though is a great adapter and can adjust his style and strategy better than most.

Yes, at the apex at lean we will have a smaller tire patch to work with W the 17s. After the brake is released the carcass stiffness is less an issue, but what IS is the feel and front-rear bias. Think feel and setting the adhesion with BOTH the front and rear equally with sensitivity rather than "plow at the apex with it skipping around with faith in the front to hold you up." Marquez will find the Michelin wanting for front grip, time to radically change his style. Jorge will be FINE.

Then comes the drive out. Mechanical adhesion via chassis and set up will be a fit. Grabbing gas from the apex will be rewarded with hooked up drive rather than a Honda like wagging back and forth with electronics to handle the details. Again, rewarding feel (we will have more primitive electronics won't we?).

Who are the smooth riders that crash seldom? Which bikes have a chassis that gives cornering feel? Which bikes get solid hook up and strong drive out from the apex out to exit point? Advantage. Honda will yet again utilize their huge war chest so don't bother getting attached to their bike being a Bstone favoring beast. Do wonder how various riders can adapt their style. We may be about to enter a "smooth and sensitive" era after a "bold and forceful" one.

Advantage Yamaha.