Last night Michelin shared with Ducati and the Pramac team the first results on the analysis of the rear tyre used by Martin in Qatar. At the end of the race, the Spaniard pointed the finger at the tyre after crossing the finish line in 10th place. Piero Taramasso, head of Michelin, took stock of the situation today: "after the Qatar race, Martin had made some rather harsh statements towards Michelin, but we understand his situation, he is fighting for the championship and had a lot of adrenaline in him. For our part, we have addressed this issue very seriously,” he assured.
There is no 100% certain answer as to what happened yet, but some problems can already be ruled out.
“First we spoke with France to verify that all the parameters during the construction of the tyre were correct and we can affirm that there were no problems in this sense - underlined Taramasso - Then we analysed all the data that Ducati and the Pramac team gave us, whom we thank for their availability. We haven't had time in 3 days to analyse them all, but last night we were already able to share the first results with Ducati and the team and the conclusion is that Jorge's performances in Qatar were not in line with what everyone expected. We've seen several things, but right now we don't have a clear answer, just several hypotheses. Now we will do other more in-depth analyses, including chemical ones on the tyre, but for those it will take about at least a month to get the results. We know that the range of use of hard rubber is very narrow and the way in which it is used can cause differences in performance."
Martin had a big rear slide at the start. Could it have influenced the performance of the tyre?
“We didn't analyse the start, but we saw that the sighting lap had been done in the right way, the tyres had the right temperature and pressure. We don't have the data on launch control, on the mappings used at the start. Logically, when you lose positions at the start the strategy changes, you have to push to recover" was the response of the Michelin manager.
Another doubt could have concerned the correct conservation of the tyres, which are sent to the circuit months in advance.
“Storage is an important part and we control temperature and humidity at all times: starting from production, then in warehouses, during transport and finally in the circuit. We have special containers so that the chemical properties of the tyres do not change” explained Taramasso.
What could have happened, then?
“The data doesn't say that that tyre was faulty and in the first 5 or 6 laps Jorge was fast, then he had a significant drop. These are the facts, like the fact that at the end of the race Martin's rear tyre wear was significant, but he was behind, he pushed, you have to correlate the various aspects. His tyre pressures, both front and rear, were the highest of all and it may be due to his riding style having to make up positions."
Michelin certainly had to face an unexpected challenge at Losail.
“Certainly not having done tests, the new asphalt and sand didn't help us - admitted Taramasso - We knew we would find difficult conditions and in fact we brought a very resistant compound. There is also some contradictory data, for example from the simulations we expected very little grip, but instead we found a lot of it. Or, many riders complained about a lot of slip on the tyres, but there was no trace of it in the data, there are a lot of dark areas to clarify, 3 days are not enough to do it."
We will therefore have to wait: "we will be able to say more when we have finished all our analyses" he assured.