The second round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship at Albacete, Spain, saw MICHELIN tyres claim the top two places thanks to its partners BMW Motorrad France and Yamaha GMT 94. The eight-hour marathon enabled MICHELIN to showcase its expertise round this difficult circuit where teams faced a particularly broad range of temperatures.
It might not be the championship’s most technically demanding venue, but Albacete is always a big challenge for tyre manufacturers. The chief reasons for this are its high number of turns, the abrasive nature of its surface and the big fluctuations in temperature between the daylight and night-time phases of the race. To be competitive here, tyres must be extremely versatile and MICHELIN’s range rose to the challenge of the Spanish track with flying colours…
Philippe MUSSATI (manager of MICHELIN Competition’s two-wheel racing programmes): “Albacete is reputed for being very hard on tyres and we had to carefully tailor the range we took there for our partner teams. Track temperatures of around 40°C called for competitive, durable and versatile products, which are three essentially opposing qualities. Yet the combination of our engineers’ excellent development work and the first class job the teams did setting up their bikes gave our partners a certain edge throughout the race. The BMW set a new lap record for the track during qualifying before going on to dominate the race, while Yamaha GMT 94 quickly made its mark to secure an unchallenged second place. Indeed, only two bikes succeeded in lapping under the 1m32s mark during the race, and they were the BMW and YART Yamaha, which had the honour of posting the fastest race lap (1m31.609s). It’s such a shame that YART ran out of fuel at one point, because we were heading for a MICHELIN one-two-three at that stage. I would also like to underline DG Sport’s outstanding run in the Superstock class. Had it not been for a fall, they could well have finished on the podium.”
This MICHELIN one-two has boosted the positions of the firm’s partners in the provisional world championship standings. BMW Motorrad France is now just two points short of the current leader, while Yamaha GMT 94 has moved up to third spot.