As many riders suspected, Michelin will bring two new rear tyre compounds for this weekend's Austrian MotoGP
at the Red Bull Ring.
At the recent private test, attended by all but Repsol Honda and Tech 3 Yamaha, concerns were raised over the endurance of the rear tyres.
“I'm not sure we will have this tyre for the race," said Pramac's Danilo Petrucci.
"I think that we need something harder," added Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. "Everybody has some problems with the tyres, Ducati but also us, so I think Michelin will bring something different for the race."
“In my opinion the tyre we use now would not be good for the race," stated Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso. "We work a lot for Michelin, because in the next three weeks they have to create the best tyre for the race. The layout of the track is small but for the rear tyre it is really, really demanding. The temperature is very high and for the tyre it is really difficult."
"With new tyres Ducati can take profit from all their acceleration and stability under braking, but let's see which tyres Michelin will bring because it looks like the tyres we use here will not be for the grand prix," explained Yamaha's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
"In some tracks with this very high temperature the tyre loses some little pieces and the Ducati is worse in this aspect because they have more power, spin more and create more temperature."
Michelin confirmed to Crash.net
that they have duly created two 'new' medium and hard rears for the race weekend, which have been 'developed from the tyres tested at Spielberg'.
The tyres will both be of an asymmetrical design with a harder compound on the right shoulder to take into account the greater number of right turns. Meanwhile the three front tyres on offer this weekend - soft, medium and hard - are compounds that were previously used elsewhere.
“The Red Bull Ring is going to be a completely new experience, not just for Michelin, but the whole paddock as no-one has raced there before in MotoGP," said Piero Taramasso, manager of Michelin's Two-Wheel Motorsport Group. "The only rider with any experience in a Grand Prix is Valentino Rossi, but that was on a lower class bike and the track has been completely refurbished since then.
"We have had a test there recently and learned quite a lot, so we think we have a good idea how the tyres will work. It is an interesting layout with just two left-hand corners and only seven rights, so we have brought tyres to cope with this unusual layout."
The change in rear tyres will give hope to Ducati's rivals after Desmosedicis swept the top four positions at the test
"If Michelin bring the anti-heat tyres, it looks like Ducati struggle a little more. Let's see with it if we are at least a little bit closer," commented Lorenzo, who was sixth quickest but almost one-second slower than Andrea Iannone.
Sunday's MotoGP race will be the first in Austria since 1997.
By Peter McLaren