Michelin responds to Martin’s comments: “We are looking at the data”

Michelin has pledged to trawl through Jorge Martin’s tyre data and report any findings after the Pramac rider’s claim that the 2023 MotoGP championship has been “decided by a bad tyre”.

After closing to within seven points of title leader Francesco Bagnaia with victory in the Qatar Sprint - when Bagnaia felt he had a tyre issue on his way to fifth - Martin’s main race went downhill from the start.

Severe wheelspin when the light went out, something he had also struggled with during practice starts, left the Spaniard in eighth place. After briefly rising to sixth, Martin was soon picked off by his rivals and slumped to tenth at the flag.

“I'm really disappointed that the championship is decided by a bad tyre. But this happened to me. It's a pity. But it is what it is,” Martin said afterwards. “I struggled a lot. I didn't have rear grip. I couldn't stop the bike. I couldn't turn. I couldn't open the throttle. It was like wet conditions.”

Michelin’s MotoGP boss Piero Taramasso said: “The only negative note [after the race] is about Jorge Martin’s performance. He complained about the rear tyre at first and then also the front because he pushed a lot.

“So we are looking at the data because, right now, it’s not easy to say anything about the tyre.

“The only thing we can say [at this stage] is about the history of the tyre. The tyre was built in France and then it travelled straight to here.

“It was never fitted, was never warmed up [before being used for the race].

“So for the moment we have no indication [of anything wrong] but we will look at the data that we get from the team and as soon as we have some news we will make Jorge, Pramac and everybody aware of what happened.”

Martin now heads into this weekend’s Valencia finale 21-point behind reigning champion Bagnaia, with 37 points still available.

Bagnaia highlighted that the close nature of MotoGP means even a small difference in tyre performance, as he felt in the Sprint, is now significant.

"We are going faster and faster and faster. Last year, we were like 10, 15, 20 seconds slower in some circuits, like in Malaysia. So, a little thing on the tyres can make a big, big step," Bagnaia said.

"So, what I said yesterday is that [my] rear tyre for me was not as perfect as the one in the morning and can make me lose two or three tenths each lap. It’s nothing considering the pace and considering the level. But can make a big, big difference.

"So, we have to deal with it. In this kind of situation, you have to do the maximum. Maybe yesterday I had the luck [because] the race was just 11 laps."

With no prior MotoGP data for the new Lusail asphalt, Michelin had offered extra front (4) and rear (3) tyre compounds for the Qatar event.

“Not only was the track surface new, but it had never been run on by a Grand Prix motorcycle. No test could be organised beforehand, and the first test session, on a ‘green’ track, was truly a plunge into the unknown," Tarramasso said.

"We had to go very quickly into our analyses, but the lap times started to drop from the second session. Some records were then broken the next day during qualifying, a sign that we had made the right choices back at the factory by choosing the correct specifications, and then on the circuit during the set-up."

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