Michelin is back in Europe for the finale of the MotoGP season

Michelin is back in Europe for the finale of the MotoGP season

Valencia, Ricardo Tormo
photo: Michelin

Michelin and MotoGP are ready to bid farewell to 2018 as this exciting season draws to a close with the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo at Valencia in Spain signalling the 19th and concluding race of the year.

Michelin heads to the traditional season-ending race at Valencia following a busy fly-away schedule. It consisted of Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia over a five-weekend period. Tough and demanding races in these countries gave Michelin some impressive results and a huge amount of data.

The 4,005m Valencian circuit is one of the shortest on the calendar – only Sachsenring is shorter

But it is still a track that needs very special preparation for, due to its technical layout and tight configuration. The anti-clockwise design (9 left- and 5 right-hand turns, all within a stadium complex environment) makes this a very unusual circuit. It requires Michelin to bring a complete set of asymmetric Michelin Power Slick tyres to cope with the constant changes in directions and the amount of the time the tyres spends on the side.

A complete range of asymmetric front and rear tyres in soft, medium and hard will be available at a race. That happens for only the third time this season. All will feature a harder left shoulder to manage the increased usage that side of the tyre is subjected to with the extra and faster turns that go in that direction.

The final round of the season is later this year. So with that in mind – and Europe moving into winter – cooler track temperatures will be expected. This necessitates the use of compounds that need to warm up quicker. But this later date also means there will be the possibility of wet weather. So the Michelin Power Rain rubber might be called into action. Available in a soft and medium compound for the front and rear, the latter ones will feature an asymmetric finish to provide the grip required in wet conditions.

Always an event that has a festival feel, the Valencia Grand Prix regularly has crowds of up to 150,000 on race day

And with the stadium feel where all spectators can see the action from the grandstands, the atmosphere is unlike any other race. The action will kick-off on Friday with two Free Practice sessions and another two on the following day. Saturday will also see qualifying, which will give the riders the opportunity to stake their claims for the best grid positions.

Sunday’s race will have a different agenda to it as it is the final race of the year to have a reduction in laps. The new format will see a 27-lap race – previously it was 30. It gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) when the lights will go out to signal the start. And then the chequered flag will come down approximately 45-minutes later on another superb MotoGP season. A year which has been full of excitement and greater advances in the performances of the Michelin tyres.

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“After the four flyaways, it feels almost comforting to be back on familiar territory in Europe, but we are still very aware that Valencia in late November will be as big a challenge as we have had this year. The cooler mornings will certainly have an effect. When we chose the tyres for this race back in February, we had to decide on the best compounds to work with that and for when the air and track hopefully warms-up in the afternoon.”

“Valencia is one of the few circuits we bring a whole set of asymmetric tyres to. This is because the tyre spends so much time on the side through the snake-like design of the track. It means we need a tyre with different compounds on it to contend with this layout and give the riders the confidence and performance they require. The championship has been decided. So hopefully, it will be a compelling race. And this will also be the last opportunity that some riders – who are moving to different teams at the end of this weekend – have the chance to give glory and good results to their current teams.”