Terry Reviews the Michelin Power EVO range with GTC Motorcycle
BSB Champion and all round racing legend, Terry Rymer, has been busy this month tearing up the tarmac at Aragon and Valencia in Spain, putting our latest MICHELIN Power range to the test. Here’s how he got on….
Chris Drinkald, an intermediate track day rider, running a Kawasaki ZX10, asked me to coach him to improve his track riding technique and on-track positioning. So a few days putting laps in at sun-baked Spanish circuits seemed as good a place as any to get to work.
Day one: We arrived at Aragon circuit in North East Spain after a twenty hour journey from the UK. I had loaned the BMW S1000RR from Prime Factors Racing (Gary Mason’s BSB Superstock team) for the Aragon and Valencia track day test. It proved to be a formidable weapon on track especially as it was shod in Michelin Power rubber.
Day One: We were unlucky the first day, as the weather was doing its best to scupper our plans for consistent, dry-running, back to back laps. Instead what we got was in and out sessions changing tyres. However, the grey cold and wet weather did enable us to evaluate our Michelin rain tyres and I can tell you the Michelin Power rain tyres give plenty of feel and grip in the wet.
Day two: Having learned the circuit (albeit in the wet) Chris had a decent knowledge of the undulations of Aragon. It’s not an easy circuit to learn, as it has a few blind crested corners that can catch you out when you arrive at speed, so you have to keep your wits about you.
So after our baptism of fire, so to speak, the track dried out and Chris started to circulate at a decent speed. We chose to start off on Michelin Power SuperSport tyres, a mainly road derived tyre. These worked well for Chris as they have a wide working temperature range to learn the circuit and they have decent grip properties when run at low temperatures allowing him to get up to a good pace, before pushing harder.
We then changed to Michelin Power Cup Evo tyres for the afternoon session and immediately found that there was a much better feel and grip from these treads. Feedback from the Evo tyre construction allowed ultimate grip and bite in to the northern Spanish circuit. We were running 20 psi rear and 31 psi (cold pressures) as the circuit temperatures were considerably low at 20 degrees, and ambient air temp at 13-15 degrees or so. Lap times continued to tumble as the day went on and we got accustomed to the circuit.
Day three: The weather was brighter in the morning and the track and ambient temperature went up to 22 and 26 degrees respectively. We stayed on the Power Cup Evos and dropped the pressures to 19 psi rear, but stayed with 31 psi in the front. We got our heads down shaving off the odd second here and there in a progressive manner. We worked on track positioning and riding style techniques, a little bit of bike set up, but we stayed on the Michelin Power Cup Evo tyres for the whole day.
Day four: After a three and a half hour journey, taking in some amazing sights of the Spanish countryside and mountains, we arrived at Valencia circuit near the east coast of Spain on the evening of day three. We set up in our designated garage and low and behold the next day the weather bought rain again!
We sat out the first wet session, then managed to get out on to the track. It was my first time on the Valencia GP circuit and I was expecting a little, awkward, stop-start track, but was really impressed, although tight and twisty, the track is full of little surprises, banked corners, quite technical, but also quite flowing. By the time Chris learnt the circuit the tyres had probably done around 85 laps, yet still looked good with even wear on both sides. Track temperature had increased to a more healthy 29 degrees and rising, ambient a steady 24-25 degrees.
Chris and I found that the circuit was a much better place to test and ride at a consistent pace compared to Aragon. Being a little shorter than Aragon and less dusty, Valencia worked the tyres well and by the end of the second day we had both circulated more than a 120 or so laps on the Evo Cups, some of which I had pushed really hard to judge outright grip, consistency and feedback.
Day Five and Six: The weather finally settled into what you would expect from Spain, a lovely 25-26 degrees with a light breeze - perfect riding conditions. Both Chris and I had changed the Power Cup Evos to Power Cup Slicks, even though the Power Cup Evos still looked in fantastic condition.
Immediately Chris and I found the slick to have slightly less movement, this was mainly due to the tyre having no cuts, but grip levels were about the same as the Power Cup Evos, possibly slightly higher. As before with the Power Cup Evos, the slicks lasted all day with excellent grip and feedback helping Chris to his best outright lap of 152.3 seconds around Valencia, not bad considering it was his first time at the track.
Overall the Michelin Power range worked well in the wet, intermediate and dry conditions and they were also run in cold and medium temperatures (similar to UK conditions). I was mostly impressed by the grip levels after the tyres had been run for a high number of laps and had been through a number of heat cycles on the track and tyre warmers.
I can recommend the Michelin Power range as an excellent choice for track day riders, who firstly do not have the time to constantly change tyres throughout their sessions, for those who want a simple choice, and those want to keep their tyre budget under control as there is no need to worry about different compounds - one tyre works for all. It’s up to the end user to decide which tyre/tread to use - Power Supersport Evo for road / track day, Power Cup Evo for track day / race or Power Slick Evo for race / track day.