As the MotoGP season commences from this weekend at Losail International Circuit, its sole tyre supplier Michelin will tag along for a exciting ride. The first race of the series will take place under the floodlights of the Qatari track on Sunday, March 20.
Both Michelin and the MotoGP teams had to work hard to adapt to the change from Bridgestone to Michelin. During the three pre-season tests including one in Qatar, the tyre maker analysed the data collected to provide best tyre to tackle the MotoGP season. One of the major challenge of racing on Losail circuit is to manage the tyre wear. The circuit is situated in rocky, desert like location therefore, there is a lot of sand on the circuit that can be very abrasive at times. Moreover, the night race means the track temperature will be cold and maintaining tyre heat will be another challenge. During the Qatar race, we will also witness the racebikes running on 17-inch wheels.
The French tyre maker will take three front and two rear tyres to the race. For the front wheel, there will be soft (white colour band), medium (without colour marking) and hard (yellow band) power slick tyres. For the rear wheel, the competitors have asymmetric soft (white band) and asymmetric medium (without colour marking) power slick tyres. However, there will be no Power Rain or Power Inter tyres this weekend as the riders will not run in wet or changeable conditions under the flood lights.
The Losail International circuit was completed in 2004 and is located on the outskirts of Doha – Qatar’s capital city. Ever since its inception, this track has been a part of the MotoGP calendar each year. The first night race at this circuit was held in 2008 for which over 3,000 light sources were used to illuminate the track.