Rain forecast for Australian MotoGP
Wednesday 18th October, 2023 - 5:42pm
Michelin is eyeing a new MotoGP race lap record at this weekend’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, but it could be thwarted by Phillip Island’s spring weather.
While Jorge Martin set a new ‘All Time Lap Record’, that being the outright lap record, when he qualified on pole position in 2022 in a time of 1:27.767s, the ‘Best Race Lap’ of 1:28.108s which Marc Marquez set in 2013 has stood ever since.
Marquez would be disqualified, however, for running too long in his first stint after officials invoked a compulsory pit stop because the Bridgestone rubber of the day could not hold up to the high corner loads over a race distance.
The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit remains one of the very toughest on tyres on the MotoGP calendar, and Michelin brings a unique allocation to the Victorian track.
Not only are both the front and rear tyre options asymmetrical (harder on the left for an anti-clockwise layout), like those taken to the Sachsenring and Valencia, but the compound difference from side to side is the widest of the season.
The front allocation of Michelin Power Slicks will be available in soft, medium, and hard compounds, and the rear in soft and medium.
The Michelin Power Rain tyres are available in soft and medium, with symmetric fronts and asymmetric rears, and it is those which riders are likely to find themselves using, at least in Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Rain is likely to fall throughout the day on Sunday in nearby Cowes, according to the latest Weatherzone forecast, with relatively high winds also.
A late shower is forecast for Saturday, when Phillip Island will see its first ever MotoGP Sprint, although most likely in the hours just after that 13-lapper takes place.
Temperatures are set to be mild, ranging from 13 to 22 degrees Celsius on Friday, 15 to 20 on Saturday and 10 to 16 on Sunday.
On the tyre allocation, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager Piero Taramasso said, “At Phillip Island, the combination of the highly asymmetrical layout and the changing weather frequently pushes the tyres to their limits.
“As with previous visits, we have refined a specific range of tyres for this circuit. By working on the rubber compounds, we offer riders a level of asymmetry unprecedented in the rest of the range.
“On the other hand, the internal structure remains what we consider ‘standard’, the layout not requiring any particular adaptations.
“While the track lap record remains in our sights, rider safety is our top priority.
“In Australia, the versatility of tyres and the responsiveness of the teams will be crucial, with very changeable weather and cool temperatures, the right choice of tyres will be essential.
“Grip, endurance, longevity, consistency, and fast warm-up: this track requires the ‘complete’ tyre.”
Weather was a talking point at Phillip Island last year, with Stoner Corner underwater on set-up day although, despite isolated showers, conditions were much better for the days of track activity.
Practice for the premier class field for this weekend’s event starts on Friday at 10:45 local time/AEDT.