MICHELIN MASTERS THE BUMPS OF COTA AS RINS REIGNS IN AUSTIN2019-04-15 08:49
Michelin witnessed its third different race winner of 2019 from the third different manufacturer as Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) raced to his maiden MotoGP™ victory during today’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas.
The Austin weekend had produced a mix of weather, with warm sunshine of Friday – which led to some fast lap-times – to a huge thunderstorm and torrential downpour on Saturday morning causing the cancellation of FP3, through to cooler and windier conditions on raceday. This mix did give the opportunity for all Michelin tyres to be tested, with a small window on a drying track at the start of FP4 for the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres to be given a debut at CoTA, unfortunately it was neither wet enough, or of a long enough duration to gather much valuable data as to how the rain tyres perform around the 5,513m American circuit. All this, added to the uneven and bumpy surface, made this a challenging weekend for Michelin, which was overcome in a rewarding and satisfying style.
With the cooler temperatures and the lack of track time due to the weather on Saturday, tyre choice was a major factor before today’s 20-lap race, with many teams and riders leaving the decision of which MICHELIN Power Slick tyres to fit to their respective machines right up until the last minute. These late decisions saw four of the six available compounds used today, with riders again choosing different configurations to give them the best performance from their machines.
As the race started, pole-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was aiming for his seventh successive victory in Austin and looked on course for that, before a mistake from the reigning World Champion saw him crash out unharmed on lap-nine, leaving Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to inherit the lead. The nine-time champion held that position for the next eight-laps, before Rins used the grip of his Michelin tyres to the full and overtook Rossi on the inside of a corner. The Yamaha man tried to fight back, but Rins held on to claim his first MotoGP victory and Suzuki’s first premier class win since 2016. Joining Rins and Rossi in the top-three was Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), a result which saw the Ducati racer also claim the title of First Independent Rider and complete a podium of three different manufacturers. The winning time from Rins of 41’45.499 also secured a new race duration record, beating the previous one by almost seven seconds.
Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) came home fourth, a result which took him to the top of the championship standings, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took fifth, with Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) in sixth. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was the top rookie with his seventh place finish, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) claimed eighth, with Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) ninth. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) finished tenth, a result that meant five different manufacturers were in the top-10.
Michelin now travels back home to France ahead of MotoGP moving to Europe for an 11-race summer schedule on that continent, beginning with the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on Sunday 5th May, where Michelin and the riders will face another fresh challenge on a circuit that has been predominantly resurfaced since last season’s race.
Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR:
“I’m very happy to have won here in Austin, this is now victories here in Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP. It was an unbelievable race; I made no mistakes and the tyres performed well for me all race. I suffered a bit with the bumps, but I managed well and am happy with the victory. It was an important day for me and Suzuki.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This has been an important weekend for Michelin. On Friday the tyres produced some very fast times, but losing most of Saturday due to the weather was unfortunate, although we were able to get a small bit of data about the wet tyres for the first time here in Austin. Today’s race saw four of the six compounds used, three different manufacturers on the podium and a new race record by a considerable margin. We are very pleased with the performance this weekend as this is a very difficult track, we don’t have the chance to test here and it is very bumpy, making it demanding for all. The tyres performed well in all the conditions and before the race the choice was still for all six options, as they were all usable. We will now head back home after three tough, but rewarding races and we look forward to getting to grips with some European tracks over the coming weeks.”
Source: Michelin Motorsport
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