‘No-one’s got to grips with Michelins yet’
Stoner was also able to give some valuable insight into how he saw the first race of the season go down, admitting to MCN that with Michelin doing such a stellar job with new tyres, it’s now down to the riders to try and take the best out of them.
“No-one has got the hang of the Michelin tyres yet, you can see it from the lap times. They were very up and down; one lap would be average and the next would be six tenths faster! That’s pretty unique.
“People are complaining how they can’t go into the corner the same way as they could on the Bridgestones, but it’s a different tyre with different advantages, and people have to learn to use them. In time, they’ll forget what a Bridgestone feels like and adapt themselves to the Michelins. It feels like that’s starting to happen already.”
In fact, Stoner was quick to heap praise on the French manufacturer, and the steps forward they’ve made since their debut last year, even if it did mean that one of his longest standing records fell by the wayside in the process!
“It was a fast race, and they all kind of held each other up too. That’s impressive as far as Michelin are concerned. A lot of people made mistakes and ran wide too, but Michelin have shown how competitive they’re going to be from how fast the lap times were – they went and beat my bloody lap record from 2008!
“As an overall, the race was as I expected it to be. No-one was a standout, even if Jorge got away once everyone let him get comfortable at the end and do what Jorge does best! In reality, no-one was a runaway winner.
“As a fan though, the race was fantastic, with a nice little battle at the end. I’m just very disappointed for Iannone that he crashed out a little too early, because he showed pace all weekend and I think he would have been a contender too if things had played out differently.”
However, there is one thing that was immediately visible to the world champion from the opening race; the new tyres are going to dramatically change the style of racing we’re going to see in the future.
“You’re going to have to pass differently on the Michelins. It’s going to be more about setting yourself up on corner exit and then passing on the next entry – passing from the run into the corner rather than passing on the brakes.”