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Michelin Power RS media launch – Qatar | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested

Michelin gets a grip

After unveiling its new Michelin Power RS (Road Sport) tyre at last year’s Australian MotoGP round at Phillip Island, Michelin has at last presented the new offering to the world media at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The French company is marketing its new performance tyre as ‘game changer’ in the world of road sport tyres, and looking back through my notes I’m inclined to agree with them.

Held just days after the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP season, in much drier conditions, the launch provided a handful of the world’s motorcycle media with an opportunity to evaluate the tyre by going our hardest around the 5.38km Losail circuit on a selection of the world’s most powerful sportsbikes. How could we refuse?

Check out the video: It was one really LONG day in Qatar…

The statistics supplied by Michelin at the launch indicate the new Power RS is a huge step forward when compared to the impressive Michelin Supersport Evo tyre it replaces. Four years in the planning, with a two-year development phase, the Power RS taps into the knowledge Michelin has gained since becoming the official MotoGP tyre supplier. It also makes the most of the French firm’s recent €700 million investment in tyre development, which saw it patent two new tyre construction systems.

Michelin’s new ACT+ construction technology uses a single piece of variable-angle casing ply, which adapts to the constantly changing pressures applied to a motorcycle tyre. The angle of the casing ply in the crown zone is close to 90º to maximise flexibility and deliver straight-line stability, a must for high-performance bikes. The casing ply is then folded back to overlap itself inside the side walls of the tyres for double thickness, providing added tyre wall rigidity for greater cornering stability.

Contrary to what the sexy sports-oriented tread pattern (or lack thereof) may suggest, the new Power RS is not a track tyre – it’s a sports tyre designed for road use with an emphasis on durability and wet-weather performance. The biggest talking point about the new Power RS, however, is the impressive level of dry-weather grip it offers.

From my first laps of the Losail circuit, the confidence-inspiring grip was evident, particularly at the front. Speaking with other riders at the test, I was not the only one who kept having to remind myself that this is a road sport tyre. Even as the pace heated up, and firing into corners at higher speeds required trail-braking right to the apex, there was little protest from the tyres, with superb front-end feedback, grip and agility on offer. Through the quick left-hand Turn 11 sweeper, where the bike is well cranked over as you feed on the power and pass the 200km/h mark, there was just an easy-to-read feeling of movement at the rear as the tyre fought for adhesion. Impressive stuff from a hoop that is said also to be a great performer in the wet.

Through Losail’s tricky constant radius corners – that suck you in at high speed and make you work hard to keep the bike online – the Power RS hung on as good as any grooved track tyre I have tested, but most importantly you could feel what the front and rear were doing the whole time.

First impressions from the test are that the new Michelin Power RS is going to be a winner with sportsbike riders wanting a full-blooded sports tyre for the road and the odd trackday. Michelin is claiming impressive durability figures for road use, and with a short warm-up period required to reach operating temperature, you can get stuck into the action quickly. The race-hardened group leaders present at the launch took great delight in torturing the shoulders of the rear Power RS as they left long arching black lines out of corners, yet at the end of the day, the tyre appeared far from totally shagged.

What we like

  • Provides more grip than you are probably ever going to require for road use
  • Impressive grooved race-tyre grip levels, great for track days.
  • Able to withstand steep lean angles at the front while under braking, and at the rear under acceleration
  • Confidence-inspiring feedback

Still to test…

  • These tyres still need to be tested in a weekday commuting and weekend scratching role. Stay tuned for further updates from the AMCN team as we test them on our Yamaha MT-10 Long Termer.

Michelin’s Power RS is available in a range of 17-inch rim sizes to fit everything from popular 300cc small-capacity models like Yamaha’s YZF-R3, through to fat-tyred sports cruisers like Ducati’s Diavel. The smaller sizes have a slightly different construction than the Power RS produced for the larger capacity bikes. While the rubber compounds and tread patterns remain unchanged, the construction does not include the patented ACT+ carcass due to the reduced requirement for high-speed stability. The move to produce a quality road sport tyre for smaller bikes makes smart economic sense for Michelin as it looks to tap into the emerging Indian and Asian markets where small-capacity sportsbike sales are measured in the hundreds of thousands.

Available sizes

  • 110/70 ZR 17 (54W)
  • 110/70 R 17 (54H)
  • 120/60 ZR 17 (55W)
  • 120/70 ZR 17 (58W)

Rear:

  • 140/70 R 17 (66H)
  • 150/60 ZR 17 (66W)
  • 160/60 ZR 17 (69W)
  • 180/55 ZR 17 (73W)
  • 180/60 ZR 17 (75W)
  • 190/50 ZR 17 (73W)
  • 190/55 ZR 17 (75W)
  • 200/55 ZR 17 (78W)
  • 240/45 ZR 17 (82W)

Report – Chris Dobie