Michelin Pilot Power tyre review

Pilot Power, that is. New dual compound sport rubber released

A YEAR AFTER launching the twin-compound, super sticky Power Race, Michelin has ventured forth with the more road-focused sport equivalent, using the same technology. The Pilot Power 2CT (two compound technology) deploys a softer compound on the outer edges for optimum grip at extreme angles, and a harder centre compound for longevity.

Michelin claims that the new tyre has a 51-degree lean angle, a mere 4 degrees less than its pukka MotoGP rubber, and we were invited to the Sepang F1 circuit to see what the fuss was about. The track was ours for the day - just as the MotoGP circus rolled into town to set up for an official three-day test, ready to make us look like a bunch of monkeys on mopeds.

Randy Mamola was on hand for advice so I asked him how grippy the surface was on a five-star scale? "Three" he said. So I snatched the keys to the nearest GSX-R1000 and headed out on a sighting lap. It was extremely humid and likely to rain in the afternoon so there was no time to work my way up from a 600 as I learnt the track. The K5 would tell me all I needed to know.

Two laps in and the front was totally planted under heavy braking, despite the K5 squirming under protest. Mid-corner stability remained consistently good, though the rear was spinning up on exit. I'd put this down to big power and average asphalt as the 600s didn't have the same problem. More interestingly, Michelin had the crazy idea of fitting a set of these tyres to Colin Edwards' race bike to show what punishment they could withstand at the hands of an expert.

They backed the power off on the bike so it was at least partially controllable, but the results were not far off incredible. The lap record is in the region of 2m.03s. Colin was circulating in easy 2m.12s and said after he could have done 2m.09s with a slight risk of crashing. This might not sound hugely impressive until you hear that wet race times would be about 6 seconds slower than that. Furthermore, after six or so laps, we huddled round the bike to inspect the shredded rubber only to be faced by two immaculate tyres that looked as though I'd just scrubbed them in. That's impressive.