Catalunya Review 2019

2019-06-16 15:23
Michelin competed against some extremely difficult track conditions all weekend at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya near Montmeló in Spain before Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took victory in today’s MotoGP™ race.

The 4,627m long circuit had been a challenging venue for all concerned this weekend after winds picked up sand from the Sahara desert over 1,000kms away, which was deposited over the track and surrounding areas by rainstorms earlier this week. These sandy conditions made the grip from the asphalt very limited and led to tyre choice being a complicated choice for all concerned, as the riders tried to make the best decision to secure the optimum performance needed from the MICHELIN Power Slicks over the 24-lap race.

Following the four practice sessions, qualifying and this morning’s warm-up, the track improved slightly, but as temperatures rose today, the added complication of a hot and slippery surface added to the confusion faced by all. With such unusual conditions it was no surprise all six options of the MICHELIN Power Slicks were selected for today’s race, as the riders chose different configurations to get the best from their respective bikes. Michelin’s technicians worked tirelessly all weekend to give useful advice to all concerned as to which tyres were best for the race and despite conditions being so difficult the Michelin rubber performed well to give the highest grip available from such a poor surface.

Today’s race began with track temperatures hitting 51°C – the highest this weekend – and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) sat on pole after setting the fastest time in yesterday’s qualifying. He got a good start, but was passed by Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) in to the first corner. The race looked like developing into a close battle with a number of riders closely packed towards the front, but a crash by Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) caused him to also take down Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). This unfortunate incident left Marquez clear at the head of the pack and he used his hard front and soft rear MICHELIN Power Slick tyres to push on to his fourth win of the season and strengthen his championship lead.

An enthralling battle ensued behind Marquez for the remaining podium positions as Quartararo, Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) began changing positions as they chased a place in the top-three. Quartararo eventually won the duel and crossed the line in second, his choice of a soft front and medium rear gave him the confidence to take his best result so far in his rookie season and also secure the position of First Independent Rider. Petrucci followed up his win last time out at Mugello to take third. He chose a soft front and rear configuration, whilst fourth-placed man Rins went for a medium front and rear pairing. These various choices of tyres meant that four different manufacturers took the top-four positions with all of them using a different configuration of tyres on their respective machines. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) secured fifth position, with Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) finishing sixth. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was seventh and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) eighth. Ninth went to Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) and Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top-ten.

Michelin will now remain in Catalunya for a one-day test on Monday, before it heads to Assen in The Netherlands for the eighth round of the season which is scheduled for Sunday 30th June.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:

“Today we did a good strategy and a good race. We worked very hard all weekend to understand all the different options of tyres. Finally, I chose the hard front and I was the only one to use that and I matched that with a soft rear, even though many others used the medium. I believed in the soft because it felt better in the earlier laps and then I could manage it as the race continued. I wanted to open a gap in the first part of the race and manage at the end. I did that and I am very happy with the win.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“There is no denying that this has been a difficult weekend. We came here expecting the track to perform in the way it did last year and enable us to break records and set some fast times, but right from the first thing on Friday it was obvious the asphalt was in a poor conditions. This made things confusing because it was so dirty and gave little grip, and when the temperatures increased it changed the characteristics again. The whole team has work extremely hard to find the best solutions and we achieved that as the weekend continued. The options provided by our range gave all riders the chance to use a tyre that worked for them and this led to all six slick compounds being used. The different choices were highlighted by the first four – on four different makes of bikes – all choosing different configurations of tyres. We were pleased with how the tyres performed in such difficult conditions and it gives us very useful data should this situation happen again. We now have a test here tomorrow where we will be working on some tyres in readiness for the 2020 season and then it’s on to Assen, where we expect a close and exciting race, if conditions allow it!”

Source: Michelin Motorsport

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