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MotoGP, Michelin responds to Espargarò: "the data don't lie, no defect in the tires"

Manager Piero Taramasso: "Aleix started with a tire temperature 10° lower than the other riders, it's normal he didn't have grip. We have 20 pages of analysis to prove it."

MotoGP: Michelin responds to Espargarò:

Yesterday Aleix Espargarò pointed the finger at Michelin for his disappointing result in Sunday's race in Qatar. "Going on the grid I realized there was no grip, it felt like riding on ice. We need to improve on the tire front, because a couple of times a season such episodes happen." The Aprilia rider's comment did not sit well with the French tire specialist, which responded to his words with action.

Explaining what happened is Michelin manager Piero Taramasso: "Yesterday we discussed everything with Aprilia and all its technical staff. After Aleix's comments in Qatar, they gave us all their data and thanks to that we were able to make an accurate analysis. A dedicated person worked 3 days to make a 20-page report, and the numbers don't lie-you can't interpret them. There was no problem related to the tires."

What happened?
"Espargarò started with a tire temperature that was at least 10° lower than all the other riders. The restart procedure after Raul Fernandez's problem did not help, there are some teams that handled that situation better and others worse. The fact is that Aleix had 10° less than the others, it's a huge difference and it's normal that he didn't have grip: a tire can't work in those temperatures. During the race, however, his best lap was only 2 tenths slower than the fastest and the difference from his best in the Sprint was 6 tenths, like all the other riders."

Do you therefore rule out defects in Espargarò's tire?
"For us the situation is clear, that was solely the problem. From the data, the grip level of the tire on the two sides, the efforts of the tire, everything was regular. When there is a problem with a tire, you can't lap 2 tenths from the fastest."

Are the quality problems definitely solved?
"From 2016 to the present, there have been cases where tires have had defects. For example, I remember in 2018 with Bagnaia, we noticed a defect and corrected it. I don't say we are happy when there is a problem, but when it happens we go deep to find it and fix it. That's why we do very precise analysis. We have data from all the riders, and as far as Qatar is concerned, we noticed that between Saturday's Sprint and Sunday's race, many of the manufacturers made a step forward on the setting to reduce tire wear and that's why they were better performers."

Speaking of the Qatar GP, how do you explain the record times we saw in all sessions?
"It was a combination of various factors. On the one hand the bikes improved, and on the other hand we introduced new compounds. We designed them so that they would be more consistent, but they are also better performing. Maybe we didn't need them, but the riders didn't mind (laughs). Also, the track conditions were great, the new asphalt started to clean up, the oils and tar were going away, so the track was in a top moment. Also, some teams worked very well to anticipate the track conditions, and it's not easy at all in Qatar, you need a crystal ball. For us, Qatar was a good start to the season."


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