MotoGP

Michelin takes on 'nemesis' Termas de Rio Hondo

Termas de Rio Hondo track 'a bit of a nemesis for Michelin'

Argentina's Termas de Rio Hondo has proven one of Michelin's toughest opponents since debuting as MotoGP's single tyre supplier in 2016.

The abrasive nature of the 4.806km circuit, combined with high tyre loads a long straight and hot, fast-changing weather, means the French rubber faces one of its most stringent tests of the season.

That was illustrated in 2016, when a scary tyre-delamination for Scott Redding prompted compulsory pit stops in the race, and Michelin is yet to experience a fully dry race weekend at the track.

Last season, which saw the start delayed due to last-minute rain, was also the first event since most of the track was resurfaced.

Nonetheless, from the data gathered, Michelin's 2019 tyre allocation (soft, medium and hard) will all feature symmetric rear compounds for the first time.

“The Termas track has been a bit of a nemesis for Michelin since we returned to MotoGP," said Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager Piero Taramasso.

"When we had a test there in 2015 it rained, so we didn’t get full data and in the three years that we have raced there we have had inclement weather which has meant we have never been able to get a fully dry weekend where we can totally assess the performance of the tyres.

"This year we are taking an allocation that we believe is matched to the new asphalt that was laid last season and because we were able to use four compounds in 2018 – due to not being able to test on the new surface – we know how they performed in the few dry sessions we had and have made the decision for the allocation based on that.

"We have also used our intensive knowledge as to how tyres have performed at other circuits with similar characteristics to Termas when making our decision for the selection for this weekend and based on all that information that we had at our disposal, we have included a complete range of symmetric rear slicks.

"It is a demanding track that can really push the tyres to the utmost limits, especially if it is quite warm, so we have prepared for what lies ahead and we are determined to get some strong results – if the weather allows us to!”

The official Termas de Rio Hondo lap records still date from 2014-2015, during the Bridgestone era.

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