Michelin MotoGP Tires

This past weekend at the MotoGP race at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, I had the opportunity to tour the Michelin paddock area to learn some fascinating information about what happens to the Michelin MotoGP Tires on every race weekend.

In 2016 Michelin took over as the official MotoGP tire supplier after seven seasons of Bridgestone performing that function. The season was a huge learning curve for both Michelin and the riders. Michelin had to come to grips with how far the motorcycles had advanced in the seven years since it last made tires for GP’s premier class, while riders and teams had to grapple with the best way to set up their machinery to get the most out of the Michelin rubber. This adaptation by the riders and their mechanics is best emphasized by the spate of front-end crashes at the start of the season that largely faded by the end of 2016 as Michelin, the riders, and the mechanics worked together to achieve their mutual goal. In MotoGP, the tire manufacturer has to be almost perfect because the safety of the riders depends on it.

  • Jim

    Tire science might not be the career choice for everyone, but it is pretty interesting how subtle changes can affect the outcome of a race. Would you say tire selection is as important as rider skill and engine/suspension set up?

  • You want WHAT

    I’ve got 2 Harley’s. I use Michelin Commander II only. It’s a down right freaky wobbling feeling changing lanes or riding in pouring down rain with the other Tire Brands Harley sales.

    In the Rain All Harley Riders Not using Michelin Commander II on the Interstate have to slow down because of the Factory Tires.

    On vacation a guy on a Big FLH passed me doing 80mph. Up ahead you could see the Wall of Rain he was about to go into. I saw him Hit the rain, his rear end wobbled and then his brake lights came on. When I hit that rain my tires where like they were on dry pavement! I past him doing 80mph and I bet He was only doing 50mph. He looked at me like How can you Ride that fast in this Rain.

    Only the High Mileage Michelin Commander II for My Bikes and I hope they never stop making them. I tell Every Harley Rider about them… They are that Good!

  • halfkidding

    World Superbikes use Pirelli spec tires which do not require the extreme temperature control of MotoGP tires and I think in general end up being less crucial to race outcomes because they are perhaps longer wearing. I’m not a close fan of either series but don’t recall reading any stories about WSBK that even mentions tires while tires always enter Moto GP stories. The thing is that WSBK lap times are incredibly close to Moto GP times now. I am thinking having tires that are less bleeding edge of performance would enhance Moto GP as it might reduce tire performance and longevity as a determinant of race outcomes and put it more on riders and bikes, where it belongs. I would be happy to be corrected on all this.

  • JMDGT

    Very interesting. I am fascinated with tire technology and what goes into its development. Modern tires are just one of the components that make this the best of times.

  • Old MOron

    Wait, you went to Losail last week?! Thank you for this interesting coverage of Michelin’s program. It’s good information. Since we actually had a MOron in the paddock, you’re going to be forthcoming with more info, right?

    • Evans Brasfield

      I was there to test the Michelin Power RS. The review should be live soon.

  • kenneth_moore

    The article mentions the volatile chemicals used in tires. Did Michelin say what the shelf-life of the tires is? For example, if they manufactured rain tires at the start of the season, but there were no wet races until the end of the season, would they still be good?

    • Evans Brasfield

      Great question, and no, they didn’t give me that information. Sorry.

  • kenneth_moore

    Did Michelin mention a “shelf life” for the tires?