You get a fair load of headaches when you take on the tyre contract for a big race series. Make a million tyres, schlepp them out to racetracks all over the place, offer different compounds, asymmetric carcasses, wets, intermediates, soft, hard, medium, large, extra-large. And if you fuck up - even a little bit - the whole world logs onto Facebook to tell their pals what a useless, USELESS bunch of halfwits you all are.
On top of all that, you have to get a load of baseball caps made up, and then make racers wear them on the podium. Man, I wouldn’t be a tyre company if you paid me.
BUT! There are benefits. Of course. You get loads and loads of chances to test your product, fiddle about with new techniques and materials. And you have the best guys in the world helping you develop your rubber - particularly in MotoGP. At the end of all this, is the chance to market a better tyre to the bloke on the Fireblade tootling along the A232 of a weekend.
Which is exactly what we have here. Michelin’s been properly hard at it this year in MotoGP, and plenty of riders and analysts reckon they’ve done a very decent job. And to celebrate, the classy chaps from Clermont-Ferrand launched a new road tyre at Phillip Island. The Michelin Power RS is aimed at sporting road riders, and the tread looks properly radical, with loads of rubber and not much tread cuts. What is there is spread out in little pockmarks, like a mad racing tyre. Brilliant.
MIchelin reckons it took the Power RS round a track on a BMW S1000RR against all the opposition’s sporty road tyres, and it came out on top. And while it’s tempting to go all Mandy Rice-Davies on talk like that, we’re prepared to accept that the Power RS will be a spankingly-good supersports tyre. We’ll be aiming to test a set out as soon as we can - they’ll be in the shops early next year, in any size you like so long as it’s 17 inches, 110 or 120 front, and 140-240 section rear…
More info: www.michelin.co.uk