Yesterday afternoon, after the race, Andrea Dovizioso complained energetically about Michelin. The reason for the dispute was the medium tyre fitted in the first start, which did not have the normal performance. It was after the race was over and the Ducati rider still didn't have any answer from the French technicians, but today their manager Piero Taramasso, explained to us what happened and talked in detail about what is happening this season and what will happen in the future.
“I looked at Dovizioso's data this morning and it is clear that when he started the first race with the medium rear tyre, the one he said didn't work, the pressure was too low,” he said.
Was it a human error?
“It was an error of judgment on their part. The cold pressure was the same as the previous Sunday, but in that case the asphalt temperature was 15° higher than yesterday. So the pressure and temperature of the tyre did not rise and this did not allow the compounds to work in the right range, so the tyre did not have the grip it should have and it wears more, so there is a more drastic drop. However, he managed to lap in 1’24.4, a time at the level of Espargarò's, despite the fact that the tyre did not work very well due to that error of judgment".
"The new tyre also works well on the Ducati, but there is no magic set-up for all tracks"
Dovizioso also said that the problems that the Ducati riders complained about in winter testing are common to everyone now.
"I don't agree with this. It is true that they always said that the new rear tyre did not suit their riding style or their bike well, but the other riders are happy. On the KTM it works well, the same on the Suzuki, and the Honda with Nakagami was also in the top positions. I am convinced that it works well on the Ducati, just look at what Miller did in Jerez and in Austria ”.
So why these criticisms?
“I'm sure our new tyre works well on all the bikes but change the balance and you have to change your riding style. Having more grip, you can't attack the tyre, otherwise its response is more nervous, on this I agree with Dovi. I keep saying that the teams must work to find the best set-up and the riders the way to make it work well and it will be like this until the end of the year ”.
"We are reliving the situation of 2016: there is a new tyre and everyone needs to work with it"
Why so much difference from one circuit to another?
“You have to work on every track, you can't find a magical set-up that works everywhere. Each track has different characteristics, such as configuration and grip level, it is normal. The rider who manages to find a way to make the tyres work well on each track will be the one who wins the championship and hats off to him. This situation reminds me of 2016 ”.
What do you mean?
“In 2016 Michelin returned to MotoGP, the tyres changed and what is happening now happened then. There were 9 different winners that season, now there are 4 in 5 races. Now we have introduced a new tyre, which behaves differently from the previous one, so everyone will have to work on each track to find the right set-up and whoever succeeds will win. If you remember, we went from 9 winners in 2016 to 5 in 2017 and then to 3 in 2018. The situation had stabilized because we had been with the same tyre for 3 and a half years, I am not surprised that some riders may now feel a little unsettled ".
Can having a newly developed rear tyre and an old front tyre cause problems?
"No, some people thought that a rear with more grip, pushing on the front under braking, would cause more crashes, but it's the opposite. Last weekend there were only 4 crashes, 7 in the previous one, while in previous years there were more. We just need to change the balance of the bikes and I think everyone has done a good job, they are faster ”.
"The riders already have an extra tyre in case of restarts, it's up to them to keep it"
Given that Michelin does not make the regulations, in the last two races, after the restarts, some riders no longer had new tyres to use. In those cases, could one not be provided, as happens with the extra soft tyre that is given to those riders who go from Q1 to Q2?
"When we entered MotoGP, Dorna asked us to increase the number of rear and front tyres available to the riders for each GP by one unit. That was the intention of a backup tyre, a spare, in fact in the data sheets to the teams we marked 9 + 1 front tyres and 11 + 1 rear tyres. It was a tyre to be kept aside in case of restarts, for example. But after a couple of races, teams and riders started using all the tyres available, without keeping any spare. Only Crutchlow and his crew chief usually keep aside a spare tyre, so it is doable ”.
"The proposal for 2021: only two options at the rear and in greater quantities"
But there are tyres that no one uses, like the hard rear in Austria.
“The same thing happened at Jerez too. The hard compound is a solution that we use in case there are very high temperatures or the asphalt is more abrasive than we expected, so often nobody uses it. We discussed this with the riders in the Safety Commission and made them a proposal for next year. If everyone agrees, we will only bring two rear tyre options but in larger quantities so they can use both specifications. Thanks to the experience we have accumulated, this is something we can do ".
How important was it to talk with the riders in the Safety Commission?
"It is always better to exchange opinions all together and face to face, in fact we will organize another meeting before the end of the year".
"The worst part of the season is over, for Portimao a test with the test riders in October"
Now there are two weeks of rest, then it will be the turn of Misano with the new asphalt.
“We have already done some tests and we are confident; it is a more conventional circuit. The worst of the season is over (laughs). Jerez with the heat of July was challenging, in Brno the asphalt has not been redone for 12 years and Austria is a track with a very high average speed".
The unknown factor will be Portimao, a track where MotoGP bikes have never ridden.
"We will do two days of testing on 7 and 8 October with the test riders of the official teams and from what I know they will completely redo the asphalt in September".