Michelin on the virtual racing front
The coronavirus pandemic has obviously brought real motorsport to a halt, but many of Michelin’s driver partners have been keeping their eye in thanks to vir...
The Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana, opening round of the 2020 MotoGPTM World Championship, saw Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo celebrate his maiden topflight motorcycle racing victory after finishing clear of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was third as Michelin’s tyres combined grip with consistency throughout the three-day meeting.
After posting a new lap record for the Andalusian venue in Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning, Quartararo followed up with an even faster effort (1m36.705s) during the afternoon’s qualifying battle to claim the season’s first, and his seventh pole position.
The exceptional grip delivered by the brand new rear MICHELIN Power Slick as the track temperature soared to 55°C also helped Maverick Viñales, Jack Miller and Marco Márquez to better the circuit’s previous best which was clocked by Quartararo in 2019.
A cautious start by the Petronas Yamaha SRT youngster – who combined the hard front and soft rear – enabled Viñales, who was second on the grid, to emerge from Turn 1 in front.
The Frenchman completed Lap 1 in fourth place, but a faultless run and smart tyre management in the heat enabled him to ease ahead on Lap 9 and stay there to the chequered flag to beat Viñales by a margin of 4.6 seconds. Dovizioso, who is recovering from a broken collarbone, was third, chased by Miller (Pramac Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT).
Defending champion Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) fell well down the order when he left the track on Lap 5 but spectacularly carved his way back through the field to challenge for second place. With four laps remaining, though, the Spaniard’s mission was halted by a nasty crash.
Practically all the riders opted for the same tyre pairing (hard front + soft rear), the exceptions being Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Viñales and Valentino Rossi who chose softs all-round.
Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) won the season’s opening MotoE clash which saw the protagonists benefit for the first time from the new, more competitive and more ecological tyre that Michelin has developed for the all-electric series. In addition to incorporating regenerated materials and biomaterials, the French firm’s latest MotoE range marks a significant step forward in terms of its overall performance package compared with its predecessor.
Next round: Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía, Jerez, Spain (July 24-26).