Michelin Surmises Season As Long-Term Employees Leave Company

This just in from Bib:


Michelin saw a dramatic climax to the second season since its return to MotoGP as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took the riders championship while his team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) won the race to give Honda a clean sweep of the championships at today’s Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at Valencia in Spain.

Marquez began from pole and got the perfect start by leading for the first three laps, then on lap-four Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) set the fastest lap of the race and took the lead from the reigning champion. The Frenchman — who had already secured the Rookie of the Year and Independent Rider titles — then led for 19-laps before Marquez made the move to take the lead, but a mistake caused him to almost crash and go into the gravel. He kept his bike upright and re-joined in fifth, giving his nearest title-rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) a glimmer of hope, but unfortunately a costly mistake by the Ducati man saw him crash out, and although he remounted he was unable to continue and retired, giving Marquez the title. Following the excursion into the gravel by Marquez, Zarco continued to lead, but was passed on the final-lap by Pedrosa, leaving the rookie to finish in second with the distinction of being the First Independent rider and setting the fastest lap. Marquez crossed the line third to take his second title in succession and secure him his fourth MotoGP crown and the sixth World Championship of his career, making the 24-year-old the youngest rider to achieve these two feats. Today’s results also gave Honda the team and rider championships, to go with the constructor title it had already secured, and give the Japanese marque all three trophies for the first time since 2014.

Michelin again saw its range of Power Slick tyres utilised to almost the full extent of the available compounds, with five of the six versions being used in various configurations. The top-three all shod their respective machines with different selections, as Pedrosa went for a hard front and medium rear MICHELIN Power Slick, Zarco went for the soft front and rear options, whilst Marquez chose the hard front and soft rear pairing, again demonstrating the different choice available to all riders and manufacturers.

Today’s race crowd of 110,220 basked in bright sunshine and clear skies as track temperatures reached 26°C and were treated to the excitement of the championship climax and many battles through the field. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) — using a medium front and soft rear selection — took fourth and his best result of 2017, as the top-four all used a different tyre choice for their machines. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) with a medium front and a soft rear compound was fifth, Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) finished sixth, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in seventh and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) eighth. Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) came home ninth, with Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking tenth and his best result of the year.

This weekend also signalled the final race for Patrick Isacco, the Michelin tyre technician for Honda. After 40-years of loyal service he is retiring and all at Michelin would like to wish him well in the next chapter of his life. Michelin also parted company with Nicolas Goubert, the Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme, as he announced his decision to leave the French company after 28-years of excellent service and seek pastures new, as he moves to Dorna to take up a role as FIM Moto-e World Cup Executive Director. Michelin would also like to wish him all the best in his new venture and is thankful for all his achievements within the company.

Michelin will now remain at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week for the first test in readiness for the 2018 season. This will be followed by three winter tests in Malaysia, at a new MotoGP venue in Thailand and then Qatar during January, February and March respectively, before the season kicks off with the first race of 2018, at Losail in Qatar on Sunday 18th March.

Dani Pedrosa — Repsol Honda Team:

“Today was a special day because of the win. It was a mixture on the tyre choice and a few riders that I was battling with were on the soft rear when I chose the medium, but the rear worked well for everybody. In general, it was positive for me to get the win on the last-lap in front of the amazing fans.”

Marc Marquez — Repsol Honda Team:

“Really happy to be World Champion! Two years of Michelin and two world titles, this is a good thing for me. In the first part of the season it was quite difficult to understand the limit of the tyres, but then Michelin did an incredible job and solved all these issues and all the riders really started to enjoy riding. The season has been amazing and all the team and staff at Michelin helped me a lot and I want to say thanks, especially to Patrick — the guy that helps me in the box — because he retired today, and he was someone very special.”

Nicolas Goubert — Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:

“Today has seen another demonstration of what we have been trying to achieve since we returned to MotoGP last year, and that is to give as much choice as possible to all the riders and manufacturers at every race to allow them to be able to choose tyres that will work on race day, no matter the riders’ style. That was highlighted by the first four all using different configurations today and five of the six compounds being used throughout the field. It was again an exciting and absorbing race and we congratulate Marc on his championship and all the other riders for such an entertaining season.

“I also want to send my thanks to all at Michelin and all the riders and teams I have worked with during my time in MotoGP, it has been a fantastic journey and I have enjoyed my 28-years at Michelin and have been able to be involved in many great things within the company. I am leaving the MotoGP project in safe hands with Piero and the rest of the team and I am sure it will continue to go from strength-to-strength.”

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