Dovizioso is Top Michelin Man in Michelin's Final MotoGP Race
Michelin didn't obtain the results it had expected in today's MotoGP season finale at Valencia. The company had high expectations after setting the pace in the first three practice sessions and putting Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) on the front row in yesterday's qualifying session, with all six Michelin men on the first three rows of the grid.
Today's weather was very different from the last two days, with warm, sunshine replacing the grey, rainy skies of Friday and Saturday. Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) was Michelin's top performer, coming through from the third row of the grid to finish in fourth place, just ahead of fellow Michelin men Hayden and Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin). Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) came home in eighth place to win the Rookie of the Year prize. James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) finished 11th and Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) took 15th after running off the track on the first lap.
"We expected a better race, the results were not as good as we had wanted," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing.
"There was a lot of rainfall during the two days of practice and qualifying, so there wasn't so much dry track time, which meant we couldn't do many laps on race tyres, though of course everyone was in the same situation. Today's track temperature was also hotter and maybe we had more heat in the tyres than expected, which could be why the lap times were not as fast as we had wanted."
Today's race was Michelin's last in the premier-class of the motorcycling World Championships. MotoGP switches to a one-make tyre format for 2009 and because Michelin's philosophy of racing is open competition, which ultimately creates better tyres for the street rider, the company has decided to continue its racing activities elsewhere.
"This was our last race, after a long involvement in this series, during which we have won 26 world titles," added Weber. "I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has been involved with us over the years, thanks to the riders for their efforts, thanks to our partners for their hard work and thanks to everyone for their support, both here and back at our own factories. Now we look to the future.