Michelin saw its named MotoGP™ race in the Australian state of Victoria produce an exciting contest today as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took victory in the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

The whole weekend at the 4,448m circuit had been shaped by strong, gusting winds and cold track temperatures, which caused all the riders and manufacturers difficulties in set-up and choosing the best compound of MICHELIN Power Slick tyres for today’s race. As the start drew close, four of the six available compounds were chosen, with just the hard front and medium rear not making the grid. Pole-setter and World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went with a medium front and rear hard slick, but it was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) - soft front and hard rear - that got the holeshot and led into the first corner. After the first lap, local hero Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led the field over the line, before the race lead then changed hands several times over the ensuing laps. Unfortunately, a collision between Marquez and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) saw the champion retire and the Frenchman crash out, but that didn’t stop the excitement as the riders pushed their tyres to the limit on the cold surface, with their MICHELIN Power Slicks giving them the confidence to drive their machines through Phillip Island’s fast corners.

Viñales took the lead on lap-eight and he controlled the attack on his Yamaha - shod with a soft front compound tyre and hard rear - to perfection as he never came under threat from the chasing pack. His victory sealed Yamaha’s first win in MotoGP since June last year and saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP close the gap on the Repsol Honda Team at the top of the Team Championship. The intense battle for the remaining podium positions saw a five-way conflict, which eventually led to Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) taking second, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in third, both using a medium front and hard rear configuration. Fourth went to Alvaro Bautista (Ducati Team), who was riding for the Factory Ducati team as a substitute for the injured Jorge Lorenzo. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) just edged out Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) to take fifth, with Miller securing seventh and the position of First Independent Rider. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) scored his best result of the season so far to take eighth, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing
Team Gresini) in ninth. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), finished tenth, meaning that all six manufacturers finished in the top-ten for the first time this season.

With high winds and cold track temperatures all weekend, along with a wet session on Friday, the Michelin Technicians had to work to the highest degree of their ability to get the optimum performance in the difficult and challenging conditions, Today’s race in-front of 36,600 fans at trackside demonstrated Michelin’s knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the conditions, the challenging Phillip Island circuit and the tyres, all of which enabled them to give the best advice to all riders and teams, which facilitated towards the excitement at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock now return to Asia for the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour, as the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia will play host to the penultimate round of the season on Sunday 4th November.

Michelin and the MotoGP field faced the highest track temperatures of the weekend before today’s 20-lap race, as the sun heated up the asphalt to 53°C. This led to a tyre choice by the grid, which although featuring four of the six available compounds, favoured a selection of a medium front and soft rear MICHELIN Power Slick. This afternoon’s race had already taken on a different feel as weather forecasts for heavy rain at the 5,543m track forced the organisers to bring the race forward by two hours to miss the expected downpour. As it was the rain never materialised at the earlier time and the whole event was run in dry and warm conditions, which led to the race duration record being broken by more than five-seconds as the main protagonists pushed the tyres to the extremes of performance in the hot conditions. Marquez took victory - this also sealed the constructor championship for Honda - but not after an eventful lead up to the race. The reigning champion set the best time in qualifying to secure Pole Position in a wet qualifying session yesterday after torrential rain had delayed Saturday’s proceedings, but an infringement on another rider saw him relegated six places to seventh on the grid and Frenchman Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) inherit the pole. As the lights changed it was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who got the holeshot and then led the race for the next 17-laps, but with Marquez hunting him down, Rossi pushed to sustain his lead and crashed, leaving the Spaniard to take over at the front and ride to victory.

With Marquez crossing the line in first, the battle for the remaining podium places raged on as Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) - setting the fastest lap of the race in the process - fought through the field from eighth on the grid, before catching and passing Zarco in the closing stages to take second, leaving the Yamaha-man to secure third and the position of First Independent Rider, a result that moves him to the top of those standings. Encounters throughout the pack entertained a record crowd for Sepang of 103,984 people at trackside, as they witnessed Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) push from eleventh on the grid to take fourth, ahead of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was sixth, a position that confirmed his runners-up spot in the championship. Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), led a trio of Ducatis across the line as he took seventh, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) coming home in eighth and ninth respectively. The top-ten was rounded out by a rider who received the biggest cheer of the day, with local hero Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) riding a superb race from last on the grid to take tenth, as he became the first Malaysian to race at his home Grand Prix in the MotoGP class.

The Malaysian Grand Prix brings to an end the four fly-away races which have seen Thailand, Japan, Australia and now Malaysia produce a whole array of weather and challenges which Michelin has faced and conquered throughout the five week tour. Today’s event also saw the Moto3™ and Moto2™ Champions crowned as Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia took their titles respectively, with the latter now moving to MotoGP for next season to become the latest star to race on Michelin tyres.

Michelin and MotoGP now return to Europe for the final race of 2018, as the paddock moves to the traditional season-ending event at Valencia in Spain on Sunday 18th November.

The weather at this weekend’s final race of the season had played a massive part in the proceedings, with heavy rain on Friday and Saturday giving the riders and teams no time to set-up for the dry conditions they faced in qualifying on Saturday. Torrential rain soaked the track for the first sessions of the weekend, but the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres coped with these conditions and aided the riders to set lap-times which were only just over eight seconds off the record for a dry lap. Following yesterday’s dry qualifying Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took Pole Position and as today’s scheduled race got underway Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) got the holeshot and led for the initial part of the race. Then the rain started to fall very heavily and puddles appeared on the track, causing a number of riders to crash due to the conditions, a situation which forced the organisers to red flag the race for safety reasons.

Following a short delay, the rain eased and drained from the 4,005m track and a 14-lap restart was announced with riders starting from the position they finished the first race. This gave Rins the first spot on the grid and he again capitalised by making the holeshot once again. The Suzuki man couldn’t maintain that position and was passed by Dovizioso, as the already confirmed championship runner-up took control and pulled away at the front, eventually taking the chequered flag and setting the fastest lap in the process. Rins took second, a result which gave him fifth in the championship and Suzuki’s fourth successive podium, the first time since 1994. Third went to Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), securing the first top-three position of his career in MotoGP and the first podium for the Austrian manufacturer since it entered the class in 2017. The podium of Ducati, Suzuki and KTM not only had three different manufacturers, but was the first time since Misano 2007, that Honda or Yamaha had not taken one of the top-three spots, this again highlights Michelin’s dedication and desire to provide tyres - wet or dry - that all teams and riders can use.

The wet weather did not deter the Valencian fans, as a crowd of 97,201 braved the rain to witness their heroes in battle. Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) took fourth, whilst a special cheer was given to Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) as he crossed the line in fifth in his last ever race, on a weekend which also saw him inducted as a MotoGP Legend. His points were also enough to secure the Team Championship for Repsol Honda, wrapping up a hat-trick for the Japanese marque after it had already taken the Rider and Constructor titles. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) recorded his best result of the season in sixth, which also gave him the honour of First Independent Rider for the first time in his career. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) came home in seventh, taking the Independent Rider title in the process in a race which was his last on a Yamaha before he moves to KTM. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) also produced his best result of the year, in what was his last ride for the team, as he came home in eighth. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) was replacing the injured Cal Crutchlow and he brought his bike home in ninth, with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) taking tenth. To round out the championships, Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took the Rookie of the Year award, narrowly beating Syahrin and Alma Pramac Racing took the Independent Team title.

Due to the very wet track, all riders began the restarted race with the soft compound option front and rear rain tyres, with only Rins opting for a medium front. In the first race there was more of a split between the front compounds, with everyone except Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) choosing the medium rear. In the dry conditions the riders were able to make considered decisions as to what they would have used in a dry race, and if the rain had kept away, five of the six compounds had been provisionally chosen by the field.
Michelin and the MotoGP field will now remain at Valencia for a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday, before then heading to Jerez in Spain for a further two-day test next week as the preparations for 2019 begin in earnest ahead of the season starter, which
is scheduled for Qatar in March.

The judicious tyre strategies necessitated by the fickle local weather at this time of year, Rallye
Deutschland is considered to be one of the FIA World Rally Championship’s toughest asphalt
rounds. This season’s event was no exception and the pace of the weekend’s 18 stages (three
fewer than 2017) provided the spectators who turned out in even bigger numbers with a spectacular,
exciting show, as the thermometer soared to as high as 30°C, with even hotter ground temperatures.
The total length of this year’s event was 1,221.89 kilometres, including 325.76km competitive
kilometres, which was up from 1,165.25km and 309.17km respectively for the same figures in 2017.
After Thursday evening’s ceremonial start in the Saarland region’s Sankt Wendel, Friday’s menu saw
crews visit the steep, narrow vineyard lanes that crisscross the nearby Mosel Valley vineyards where
the event’s notoriously unpredictable conditions effectively threatened. Aided by Michelin’s technical
advisors, the response of the teams’ weather and tyre strategy experts to the threat of heat-induced
storms and localised showers was a variety of compound options to allow competitors to optimise
their performance.
The WRC crews essentially counted on the soft-compound MICHELIN Pilot Sport S6 which is
designed for cold, damp conditions. And they had good reason to praise the work of the French firm’s
engineers when rain effectively added to the challenge on Day 1.
The other two legs took place in bright sunshine which prompted the WRC runners to favour the
harder-compound MICHELIN Pilot Sport H5 which was developed for hot, abrasive conditions.

After an eight-year absence from the FIA World Rally Championship calendar, Rally Turkey returned to the sport’s elite series this season with a visit to a brand new venue, Marmaris. The southwestern coastal resort and its magnificent surrounding countryside featured a menu of exceptionally selective stages which provided the foundations for a thrilling contest on a level playing field, since they were unknown territory for all of the front-running competitors.
The three-day event turned out to be not only the slowest gravel fixture of the season but also the roughest, with most competitors reporting misadventures of some sort. The total distance of 882.69 kilometres included 321.20 kilometres of against-the-action clock divided into 17 challenging tests which clearly entertained the many spectators – most of whom were newcomers to the sport.
To help the WRC runners in their battle for supremacy, Michelin had two types of tyre available in Turkey: the hard-compound MICHELIN LTX Force H4 and the medium MICHELIN LTX Force M6. Meanwhile, its WRC2 partners were able to choose between the hard-compound MICHELIN Latitude Cross H90 and the softer Latitude Cross S80. In both classes, the harder variant was by far the preferred option, although the M6 did play a part in the strategies of certain crews.
The hostile conditions, which included rocks described by some as being as big as footballs, effectively put the cars and their tyres to a gruelling test.

After making their maiden competitive appearance in July, in Finland, the new MICHELIN LTX Force M6 and MICHELIN LTX Force S6 were the nominated choice for Wales Rally GB for the first time. Their compounds (medium and soft) proved ideally suited to the British round’s highly specific conditions which forced competitors to carefully plan their respective tyre strategies for the weekend, backed by advice from the expert Michelin technicians delegated to work with each team, although the final choice is always down to the drivers.
This year’s Wales Rally GB was brought forward three weeks compared with 2017 which meant the weather was slightly different. With the exception of Day 1, there was effectively little rain and the temperature varied from 7 to 14°C, while the sun made numerous appearances over the three days. Even the usually omnipresent morning fog was rare this time around.
As a result, crews were able to count on the consistency of the MICHELIN LTX Force M6 which was ideal for the longer competitive loops. A combination of the two compounds was a frequent option, however, even though Michelin’s WRC partners took care to keep back a stock of the softer option for Sunday morning’s tests. The last day’s menu included the Power Stage which, for the first time this season, wasn’t the last competitive section of the rally but scheduled four tests from the end.

This year’s RallyRACC Catalunya turned out to be colder and wetter than the recent Wales Rally GB, which is certainly saying something!
Action kicked off with a super-special in the streets of Barcelona on Thursday evening before crews returned to the service park in Salou, some 80km south of Catalonia’s capital.
Spain’s round is the only mixed-surface fixture of the FIA World Rally Championship, with Friday’s leg an all-gravel affair followed by two days on asphalt on Saturday and Sunday. This specificity means teams need to change the configuration of their respective cars on Friday evening, since the suspension parts, transmission systems and settings they use are different for sealed-surfaces.
To cover the weekend’s unique mix of surface and weather conditions, Michelin’s partners were able to choose between two distinct tyre ranges, namely the H5 (hard compound) and S6 (soft) versions of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport for the asphalt stages, plus the MICHELIN LTX Force H4 (hard) and MICHELIN LTX Force M6 (medium) for the day on dirt. Meanwhile, the French firm’s WRC2 competitors had a choice between the RH3 (hard) and RS (soft) versions of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport asphalt tyre, and between the MICHELIN Latitude Cross H90 (hard) and S80 (soft) for gravel.
When heavy rain swept over the region on Saturday, crews also had the option to fit the MICHELIN Pilot Sport FW3, the specific tread pattern, high ‘sea-to-land’ tread block ratio and oblique lateral water-clearance grooves of which are designed to combine performance on wet roads with resistance to aquaplaning. This ‘full wet’ alternative was ideally suited to the situation but, in line with the rules, only eight were available per car, which led to some understandable head-scratching when it came to making the most judicious choice for the different competitive loops.

This weekend in Australia, Frenchmen Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have won the FIA World Rally Championship’s Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ titles for the sixth straight year. It is their second crown in a Michelin-equipped Ford Fiesta WRC after four with Volkswagen, also in association with the French tyre brand.
Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) and Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja, (Toyota Yaris WRC) claimed the year’s silver and bronze medals respectively, while the Manufacturers’ crown went to Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT after a strong end to the 2018 campaign, chased by Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT (2nd) and M-Sport Ford WRT (3rd).
Ahead of the season’s final clash, 2018 Rally Australia, forecasters had predicted a high risk of rain but the weather stayed clear practically throughout, with only localised showers affecting Friday’s run, followed by some heavier rain which swept across northern New South Wales on Saturday evening.
Crews consequently only encountered muddy conditions in places on Sunday morning and, for the vast majority of the rally, they had to cope with the event’s hallmark combination of soft and hard-wearing ground. This cocktail made getting tyre choices and strategies right particularly crucial, especially as the WRC runners’ available quota was restricted to 28 hard-compound MICHELIN LTX Force H4s and 16 medium M6s. Of these, they were only authorised to use up to 28 for the week’s 24 stages which totalled 318.64 kilometres out of an overall route length of 1,017.07km. Both options rose to the occasion perfectly, however, to cover all the different scenarios and deliver their usual blend of performance and safety.

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