Michelin: Return a 'tremendous challenge'
7 December 2016 – Michelin can be proud after overcoming the "tremendous challenge" of its comeback as sole MotoGP tyre supplier in 2016, according to brand chief Nicolas Goubert.
Michelin made its return to the championship following a seven-year absence, having exited at the end of the 2008 campaign, and faced numerous hurdles as it re-adapted.
It was initially criticised at the 2015 post-season test session in Valencia, where a number of riders suffered crashes, after which it made changes to its front tyre compound.
Issues continued into 2016, with Loris Baz suffering a blowout in pre-season testing, and further trouble followed in Argentina, which led to both rear compounds being withdrawn.
Steady improvements were made over the course of the season, in which nine different riders triumphed, and Goubert praised Michelin's MotoGP department for the work carried out.
"It has been a tremendous challenge and we have tackled it with great success," said Goubert.
"If we rewind the clock a year, our MotoGP comeback was very much a leap into the unknown.
"[We had] new riders, new bikes and new tracks, and that's before you even considered riding styles that had changed and an electronic package that teams were still trying to get to grips with."
Goubert went on to emphasise: "I am immensely proud of the exceptional reaction capabilities demonstrated by our manufacturing and development teams throughout the season.
"Every time we came upon a problem, we were able to modify our tyres in record time. When we needed to react quickly after Argentina, we produced a batch of new rear tyres in just three days!
"Indeed, there were countless evolutions [to the tyres] all the way through – from the Grand Prix of The Americas to the French Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix.
"On each occasion, the improvements were praised by riders and confirmed by the timing screens.
"In actual fact, we engineered more [tyre] developments over this single season in MotoGP than we did during seven years of working in other motorcycle racing disciplines."