THE GENIUS OF MICHELIN’S TYRE WAR
Since their return to the Motogp championship at the start of this season, Michelin have taken a lot of flack. Starting with Loris Baz’s high-speed tyre explosion back at the Sepang tests (even though it was later discovered to have been caused by a puncture) and leading up to the tyre selection in Brno only recently, the French firm has had a lot of fire fighting to do.
But what they’ve managed this season so far is really quite remarkable. Somehow, as they work to develop new-specification rubber for increasingly powerful Motogp machinery, they’ve managed to create a tyre battle in a one-make series.
How? By providing a wide selection of choices for the riders each weekend, and by ensuring that different tyres can be used successfully by different machinery and different riding styles.
Compare that to last year, when it was completely normal to see the majority of riders elect for the same front tyre option from Bridgestone. Or even to Sunday’s Moto2 race, where every single rider on the grid used the same combination of Dunlop tyres.
And what that has resulted in is the single most competitive season in the history of Grand Prix racing. What we’ve seen this year time and time again, from Crutchlow’s stunning wet win to Pedrosa’s victory on Sunday, is that riders can once again take a risk on tyres – they can gamble, and realistically expect that it might just pay off for them.
And even better, it’s come with no real negatives. Now that riders have adapted their riding style to the new tyres, they’re showing no increase in the number of crashes compared to last year, and yet we’re getting racing that’s closer than ever.
‘Riders can once again take a risk on tyres and realistically expect it to pay off’ SIMON PATTERSON
Pedrosa’s tyre gamble paid off