Last year, the changes to tire compounds came fast and furious after Michelin’s hiatus from MotoGP during the Bridgestone spec-tire era, but this isn’t typical. Usually, the compounds are created based on experience from previous races and tests. Since each track is different, requiring different compounds, the tires delivered to events are frequently track-specific. For example, Losail uses an asymmetric compound because of the additional stresses on the right side of the tire since more than half of the turns are right handed. Also, the sand on Losail makes it more abrasive and requiring different compounds than those that would be used at COTA, for example.

Look to Scott Redding’s high-speed tire failure last year in Argentina for an example of how quickly Michelin can respond when necessary. While Michelin couldn’t do anything other than restrict the use of the tires with the potential problem on the race weekend in which the failure occurred, for the track in question, Michelin required the riders use a special tire with a stiffer carcass construction. However, Michelin’s engineers were able to create new tires that addressed this problem and ship them to COTA just a week later thanks to the three-day turnaround.

  • 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?