After a serious tyre issue for Scott Redding in Argentina, which ultimately led to mandatory bike swaps in the race, the spotlight was firmly on Michelin in Austin.
Free practice began just five days after Argentina and, just like at Termas de Rio Hondo, no winter testing had been held at the Circuit of the Americas with which to gather data.
Michelin's reaction was to produce brand-new rear tyres for the Austin race, with an increased factor of safety and delivered in a staggering short time.
The tyres began their build process on Monday in Clermont Ferrand, France and were then shipped to Houston in Texas, before finally arriving in separate batches at the track on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.
“This has been quite a demanding week, because after Argentina we had to react quickly, so we had to build the tyre, ship it, get it through customs and then get it delivered to the track, so the logistics of that were not easy – but luckily everything went well,” confirmed Piero Taramasso, manager of Michelin's Two-Wheel Motorsport Group.
The new tyres had a stiffer construction, but with a softer compound. No structural tyre issues were reported during the event.
The race was won by Marc Marquez with an overall time 10-seconds slower than last year (on Bridgestone tyres) but the Honda rider's huge lead meant he backed off by three-seconds on the final lap alone. Marquez's best race lap was only 0.119s slower than in 2015.
“What we really wanted to do here was to show that we could react in the correct way after the issue that Scott had in Argentina,” declared Nicolas Goubert, deputy director, technical director and supervisor of the MotoGP Programme.
“We did exactly what we said we would do and brought some new tyres that were based on the extra tyre that we should have run [as a replacement tyre] in Argentina, but with compounds more suited to the track here.
“It was tight in the factory to get it done, but it worked and the tyres did a pretty good job, so we are pleased about that. Considering this is the first time that we have had these constructions on the race track we are quite satisfied with the results.”
Unlike at the last two events, Michelin has winter test for the forthcoming Spanish round at Jerez. The analysis of Redding's tyre is not yet complete.