Tyre wars: a moun­tain out of a mole­hill?

‘Peo­ple said they wanted more feel’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

The week­end saw con­tro­versy erupt in the pad­dock af­ter a move by Miche­lin to bring a new type of front pro­file tyre was turned from a mole­hill into a moun­tain over al­le­ga­tions of favouritism.

A num­ber of riders re­quested that the French firm help them find more sta­bil­ity mid-cor­ner, re­sult­ing in plans be­ing put in place to al­low them to try it out dur­ing the week­end – plans that were im­me­di­ately claimed to be solely to aid Valentino Rossi.

The plot then took an­other twist at Fri­day’s safety com­mis­sion when the at­ten­dees voted to re­move the new tyre from the al­lo­ca­tion af­ter gen­eral strikes in Ar­gen­tine cap­i­tal Buenos Aires saw their ar­rival at the cir­cuit de­layed un­til Satur­day.

Speak­ing on Satur­day night, Miche­lin boss Nicholas Gou­bert brushed aside talk of con­spir­a­cies.

“We de­cided on a di­rec­tion for the tyres this sea­son af­ter test­ing, but at the Qatar test we had quite a few crashes – too many crashes– and peo­ple said the feel­ing from the front wasn’t what they ex­pected.

“We took the de­ci­sion to bring the new tyres. Our ob­jec­tive wasn’t to make it avail­able for the race, but to pre­pare for the fu­ture, but then with the strike un­for­tu­nately we didn’t have the tyres avail­able on Fri­day.”

Miche­lin’s Gou­bert says there’s been no tyre favouritism

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