Leon Camier turned a lot of heads at Indianapolis in his first ride on the Drive M7 Aspar Honda production racer. The Englishman was drafted in to replace Nicky Hayden while he recovers from surgery, but despite it being the first time he rode a MotoGP bike, the Bridgestone tires, carbon brakes, and the Indianapolis circuit, Camier was very quickly up to speed with the other Open class Hondas.

Having a fast rider come in to MotoGP from World Superbikes allows a number of comparisons to be made. Among the most interesting is the difference in technology and tires.

At Brno, Camier explained the difference in feel and cornering between the World Superbike Pirellis and the MotoGP Bridgestones. The front tire, especially, is a completely different kettle of fish, requiring a different style, and therefore different set up.

“The main [difference] for me is the tires and the brakes,” Camier told us, “the tires being the biggest one. It’s just that you have so much more front grip and with angle that you can brake and turn in with the brake on. [The front tire] is adjusting itself to be able to do that.”

That difference presented a major challenge, Camier explained. “If you don’t have enough weight on the front tire late in the corner, the bike doesn’t turn. So you have to be able to go in fast enough to be able to load the bike that late on in the corner. Which is hard, because you need the setting to be right for that.”

This was the stage at which Camier and his crew had arrived. “That’s what we are trying to find at the moment, trying to find the right balance for that. At the minute, the bike’s quite soft, and I can roll round the track quite nicely, but to go faster, I need to start braking later, turning in with the brake on, and bury the front tire.”

Burying the front tire was the key to going fast. With the World Superbike Pirellis, the key was to brake, release the brake to allow the tire to resume some of its shape, and then use this shape to get the bike to turn.

Respected MotoGP journalist Mat Oxley, also present, put the historical example of Simon Crafar riding Dunlops during the 500cc era. Crafar, Oxley said, would use the point at which the bike deflected back to its normal shape to help hook the bike round the corner, and assist turn in.

Camier recognized this from World Superbikes. “That’s more like a Pirelli,” Camier said. “You go in with the thing absolutely buried, and you have to sort of get it up off the tire for it to come into a more normal shape to turn.”

The Bridgestones are the opposite, Camier said. You do not wait to stop braking before turning in, you turn the bike into the corner when the front tire is loaded up under braking. “This turns when it’s flattened,” Camier said. “And it does turn. But the grip is so much more as well. It takes some getting your head around.”

Photo: © 2014 Daniel Lo / Corner Speed Photo – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Makes me wonder if the lap times of the factory 2016+ bikes with the spec ecu and Michelin tires are going to have slower lap times than the current setup’s.

    Actually, I’m positive this will be the case. I doubt Michelin will come out with a good tired in it’s first year. It probably won’t be anywhere near as good as the current Bridgestones until their 3rd or 4th year.

  • Westward

    I makes me think Moto2 is the way to transition into MotoGP more so than from WSBK…

  • Westward, I suspect the Moto2 Dunlops are about as different from the MotoGP Bridgestones as are the WSBK Pirellis. I could, of course, be mistaken.

    I agree with exstrat that the Michelins are unlikely to be as good as the Bridgestones in the first year or two. Michelin has their work cut out for them!

  • Bjorn

    If they last race distance at Phillip Island, then I’m sure the riders will be satisfied.

  • crshnbrn

    ^ I think it is going to take more than that. Granted that was a huge blunder, but I think Bridgestone will be sorely missed in the MotoGP paddock.

  • JoeD

    I think Michelin will equal the current ‘Stones, despite size changes and other variables. They have the time and money mixed with Corporate Pride. I went from Dunlop to Michelin on the V11. Dunlop was always noted for good front tires but Michelin feels so precise and grippy. Sure, street skins are not race worthy but they do show expertise.

    Perhaps the driving force will be the lambasting Bridgestone has received. “We’ll have none of that” was probably voiced in the Michelin Board Room.

  • Noel B

    Bear in mind there is a general desire to slow down MotoGP – the powers that be may intend to use tyres as a means of achieving part of that. I dislike that type of meddling but with a spec tyre its very easy to do.

  • I think slowing it down might be a very, very good thing. I think the sport has gotten out of hand when it becomes mandatory to have surgery to deal with arm pump. Guys shouldn’t need to get cut on to race. Just sayin’.

  • Jonathan

    Well if they want to slow MotoGP down then Michelin is in the right place.