Tyre wars: a mountain out of a molehill?
‘People said they wanted more feel’
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