Valentino Rossi put the emphasis on Ducati rather than Michelin to fix the kind of tyre problems that caused a compulsory bike swap during last weekend's Argentina MotoGP race.

Scott Redding's Pramac Ducati shed the outer layer of its rear tyre during final practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

Fortunately, unlike for Avintia Ducati's Loris Baz at the Sepang test, the Englishman was able to keep control and park his bike despite being struck by debris.

Michelin, starting its first season as exclusive tyre supplier, reacted by withdrawing both rear options and replacing them with a new stiffer tyre for race day.

However a wet warm-up prevented any practice time with the new tyre, resulting in the original tyre allocation being allowed - but with a reduced 20-lap distance and mandatory mid-race bike change.

"For me it's two [factors] together," Rossi said of the tyre issues. "It's taller riders that are a little bit more heavy, like Baz and Redding. I'm also quite tall. But especially it is the taller rider and the [type of] bike.

"Because all through the winter tests and the races in Qatar and Argentina, with the Yamaha, we never have [tyre] problems. So last week we were ready to race, to make the 25 laps.

"About our feeling on the bike and data about the tyre temperature - we don't have any problems, fortunately. So I hope that also the other bikes, in this case the Ducati, can fix the problem.

"Because if not also all the other manufacturers have to race with the very hard, hard, hard tyre. And I think that is not good for the show, it is not good for the performance. So I think they have to fix the problem."

The Desmosedici is certainly not lacking engine power - Andrea Iannone set a new all-time top speed record of 218.2mph (351.2km/h) in Qatar - while the more basic unified ECU has also been highlighted for possibly increasing tyre stress.

But regardless of power, rider weight or electronics there is a big difference between a tyre losing performance due to being 'overworked' and a tyre coming apart... Michelin state that the Baz incident was a puncture.

As in Argentina, there has been no official testing at this weekend's Austin round. Michelin did conduct a test at the circuit last year, but it was hampered by rain and its engineers have 'very little dry set-up data'.

As a result, three front tyres (soft, medium and hard) will be available this weekend rather than the usual two options. The rear tyre choice will be soft or medium, both asymmetrical, with a harder right-hand-side.

By Peter McLaren


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