This coming weekend the MotoGP championship heads to the famous Assen Circuit in The Netherlands – the only track to have hosted GP since the inception of the series seven decades ago.
Assen is also the most successful MotoGP circuit in Michelin’s history, with the French brand having taken 33 wins there since 1975, many of which came during the open tyre era.
Reigning champion Marc Marquez emerged victorious at Assen last season, joined on the podium by Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales for Yamaha. Marquez also holds the record for the best race lap, set in 2015, although Valentino Rossi holds the all time lap record which he set the very same year.
Assen is a fast and technical circuit, but it’s actually the slowest section between Turn 1 and Turn 4 that is expected to put Michelin’s race rubber under the most strain. Riders go heavy on the brakes into Turn 1, before picking up speed through Turn 2 and then cranking the bike right over onto the right shoulder of the tyre through Turns 3 and 4.
As a result of this, Michelin will be supplying all asymmetric Power Slick rear tyres, with a harder rubber compounds on the right shoulder. The Hard compound front will also be of asymmetric design, along with the Soft compound Power Rain rear.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s action, Michelin Motorsport Two Wheel Manager Piero Taramasso stated:
“Assen is an extremely technical track and one that we prepare for in a slightly different way. The rear tyre does the majority of the work due to the demands placed upon in through the fast, flowing corners, so all riders need a good, consistent grip, as what they do in one turn can easily influence the rest of the lap.
It is also a circuit where riders like to push for the whole race and with the extra consistency and grip that the tyres are providing this year with the technology we have introduced into the compounds, we expect them to be able to use the extra drive and durability to produce a close and fast race.
Assen is also a track where weather can change quickly and play an important part, so we need to be prepared for that, we have had one wet race there since our return to MotoGP and the tyres worked really well, since then the compounds have improved, so if it is wet we expect an equally close and thrilling race as we are hoping for in the dry.”