Despite relinquishing its once-lead role in MotoGP competition, Micheline has retained the top-level team of scientists and engineers it employed in its racing effort. What are they doing now? They're working on consumer tires. Three years in the making, the new Michelin Power One series replaces Michelin's acclaimed Power Race tires, and incorporates much of what the French manufacturer has learned during 36 years of Grand Prix racing.
The Michelin Power One hypersport tire range includes a performance street tire as well as a more focused, road-homologated competition version – the same tire that will be used by the Power Research race team in world endurance competition. All Michelin Power One tires feature a dual-compound tread front and rear, and benefit from technology developed specifically for MotoGP, such as specialized 'black carbon' synthetic rubber and carcass architecture that increases the contact patch area by 15 percent.
The Michelin Power One street tire features a classic three-ply design front and rear for a more compliant, smoother ride. The Michelin Power One street tire demonstrated excellent straight-line stability, neutral steering and a predicable, progressive tip-in feel. The softer rubber on the Power One's shoulders provided more than enough grip, maintaining its hold on the pavement even during full-throttle, off-camber corner exits. Intended for aggressive road riding and track days, the Michelin Power One road tire offers ample performance for intermediate to advanced riders, and way more than you would ever need on the street, even on a powerful liter-bike.
Reconciling grip and durability is a difficult endeavor, but Michelin's advanced rubber compounds seem to be a success. The Michelin Power One competition tire, although the Michelin Power One competition tire has the same appearance as the Michelin Power One street version, the similarities end there. A higher crown, and flatter shoulders yield precise, razor-sharp handling and massive traction at full lean. This allows riders to brake harder and deeper into corners, and roll on the throttle sooner. The Michelin Power One competition tire responsiveness is further improved by a more rigid carcass of five plies front and four plies rear. Multiple compound combinations allow riders to tailer traction and durability to meet the requirements of specific circuits.
With every gain there is a loss, and what's lost with the Michelin Power One competition tire is front-end stability and compliance. The front wheel exhibited and increased tendency to head-shake at corner exits, and the stiffer tire. Granted, there was almost no time for suspension adjustments, which likely would reduced – if not eliminated – these problems.