MotoGP: Michelin Tire Test At Sepang

French tire manufacturer Michelin has commenced its MotoGP test season at the Sepang International Circuit with factory test riders including the Texas Tornado, Colin Edwards.

Michelin will return to MotoGP in 2016 after a seven-year absence, and has already planned a busy season of testing to ensure its future debut will go smoothly. This weekend's test at Sepang involved all the factories in the paddock including Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Aprilia and Suzuki. Colin Edwards and Katsuyuki Nakasuga tested for Yamaha, Hiroshi Aoyama for Honda, Randy de Puniet for Suzuki, Michele Pirro for Ducati, and Michael Laverty for Aprilia.

HRC test rider Hiroshi Aoyama

The test riders focused on evaluating the new 17-inch tire size as well as characteristics of the bike with the new wheels. As such, the yearlong process will involve setting the bikes up for the new wheel size, narrowing down the tire selection, and then producing the final tire allocation.

Although the test riders started the testing cycle, all MotoGP riders will get a chance for a first run-out on Michelin tires following the second Sepang test in just over two weeks time. There will be another one-day session after the Qatar pre-season test, after which a total of nine in-season tests are planned with the factories’ test riders – one of which will once again include the entire grid.

Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro

Piero Taramasso, Manager of Michelin 2Wheel Motorsport Activities, commented: “When we do a test like today we bring seven different fronts and four of five different rears. So we use the test riders to do a pre-screen, and then when we select the best one, we use that with the official riders. If we respect the plan, we think that by mid-season around July, we will fix the front casing and rear casing, and we’ll know about all the compounds we need to cover all the race tracks.”

Texas Tornado, Colin Edwards testing at Sepang for Yamaha
HRC test rider Hiroshi Aoyama
Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro