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Michelin working hard for Chinese Grand Prix

Michelin travels to Shanghai with new tyres for Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) following a difficult Turkish GP where the former World Champion struggled with a rear tyre vibration.

Michelin reacted swiftly to Rossi's post-race analysis and feedback by letting test him harder construction rears for the Monday test session at Istanbul. The new tyres, already produced for the tests, allowed Michelin and Rossi to confirm the direction of development they are taking. Michelin tailor-makes tyres for each of its seven MotoGP riders, according to individual riding style and machine requirements.

"We tested harder construction tyres based on Valentino's precise comments after the race at Istanbul," says Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "The new tyres he tested gave him more confidence and more stability. Based on these results Michelin is focusing all its efforts on taking new spec tyres that fit Valentino's requirements to China, adapted to the demanding Shanghai circuit."

MICHELIN & THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE OF SHANGHAI

"Shanghai is a horsepower track, where top speed is even more important than at Istanbul," says Weber. "It features two long straights, so there's a lot of heavy braking, strong acceleration and high top speeds, which means we have to deal with a lot of stress in the centre section of the tyres," explains Weber. "We deal with this issue by using harder constructions in both front and rear tyres. The centre section compounds we use at Shanghai aren't dramatically different from what we might use at other circuits but the tyres are definitely harder.

"There are also several very long curves during the lap, where riders use high angles of lean and stay on the edge of the tyres for a long time. Therefore Shanghai can be quite a challenging track, especially if the weather is good and track temperature is high."

"The Turn One and Turn Two right-handers combine to make the biggest corner in MotoGP at over 300 degrees, and it's a special kind of corner because the camber changes a lot, riders going up into the turn and then down, so the mass transfer isn't constant. The Turn 12 and Turn 13 rights take riders through another 270 degrees, then there are other quite long curves like Turns Seven and Eight, so we have to use quite hard products at this track. We also have to take into account the balance of lefts and rights and use different compounds on each side of the tyres. The surface itself isn't too aggressive, it's more the stress placed on the tyres from the high speeds, the heavy braking and the long corners. We are confident in our 16 inch front, it will be good for the long corner entries at Shanghai."

MICHELIN IN CHINA

China is the world's biggest manufacturer and consumer of powered two-wheelers, so it's no surprise that Michelin has a major presence in the country. Michelin China employs around 5000 people and invests hundred of millions of euros in Shanghai Michelin Warrior Tire Co Ltd, which manufactures Michelin and Warrior Tyres. Michelin also has an R&D centre in Shanghai.

TRACK DATA

SHANGHAI: 5.281km/3.281 miles

Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), 1m 59.3318s, 159.336km/h- 99.007mph (2006, lap 19)

Pole position 2006: Pedrosa, 1m 59m 009s, 159.749km/h-99.263mph

WINNERS OF THE CHINESE GP

2006 Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), 44m 07.734s

2005 Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 50m 02 463s (wet race)

MICHELIN'S 2007 MotoGP RIDERS

Carlos Checa (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin)

Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin)

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin)

Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V-Michelin)

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC212V-Michelin)

Kenny Roberts Junior (Team Roberts KR212V-Michelin)

Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin)

Contacts

Isabelle LARIVIERE

Michelin MotoGP Press Officer

20, rue Henri Regnault

75014 PARIS-France

Mob:+33(0) 6 70 31 63 34

Tel:+33(0) 1 40 52 17 23

Fax:+33(0) 1 40 52 17 18

April 2007