Tires, as always, are what riders think about before the race. The Qatar circuit puts lots of wear on tires, and Bagnaia stated: “During the first laps, we have to stay calm, or we risk burning the tires.”
But Piero Taramasso, head of Michelin, is optimistic : “We’ve been working on a new range of tires to have more consistency from the first to the last lap, so that the riders can push throughout the race. We’ve done a great job on the compounds, and we’ll no longer bring the soft and supersoft like in 2020, because they were complaining of a significant drop.”
In a nutshell, as far as the rear is concerned, last year’s medium has become this year’s soft. The same goes for the hard, which is now the medium, while the new hard is an unprecedented compound.
“The soft one works really well. It can do twenty, twenty-two laps with good times,” Taramasso explained. "The medium has less potential in terms of grip, but it’s more stable. The same also applies to the hard. Some riders, like Morbidelli and Valentino, tried it, but I don’t think it’ll be chosen for the race, also because lower temperatures are expected. And, if there’s wind, which will bring sand to the track, everything will become more difficult, because the asphalt will be more slippery, and tire wear will increase.”
All we have to do is wait and see what the riders will choose, and the Michelin manager seems confident: “We’re waiting for the warm up but, at the moment, practically all the riders are oriented towards using the soft tires, both front and rear.”