The stiffer Michelin front tyre will return to MotoGP action next time at Mugello.

The tyre, the original version featuring the 2017 profile, made a successful debut at the 2016 Valencia finale, but its rigidity was then reduced following chattering issues.

This softer version has been used since the start of the new racing season, but some riders - notably Valentino Rossi - have struggled with front-end movement and felt the original version would be better.

As more riders began to cast doubt on the current tyre, Michelin decided to re-test the stiffer version.

Plans for a trial at the Argentina MotoGP weekend were scrapped, but the tyre did appear at the official post-race test at Jerez. While most riders felt there was little difference between the two options, when pushed for a preference the stiffer construction came out on top by a clear majority.

On Friday evening at Le Mans, Safety Commission representative Loris Capirossi explained:

"We did the test on Monday after Jerez and the majority of riders chose the older construction 2017 tyre.

"Today we made the official vote and out of 23 riders, 20 riders chose the 70 [old] tyre and 3 the 06 [current] tyre.

"So the decision is done and from Mugello we will have only the 70 tyre, from Valencia last year.

"The 70 construction is a little bit stronger, a little bit harder, and the 06 is a little softer. This is why some riders complained that they had a lot of movement. When they test the 70 they were happy.

"The majority are happy [with this decision], but some are for sure not because they don't like the old construction. But we try always to follow the majority."

Michelin's Nicolas Goubert confirmed: "The two tyres, the one we are using now and the one we will use from Mugello, are only different in terms of construction.

"The stiffer construction is something the riders know already because they used it at Valencia [last year] and again at the test after the Jerez race.

"The majority of riders decided to go for the harder construction and basically Dorna wanted to double check with them here, that everybody is still OK with that decision. And they confirmed basically the decision that they had made.

"It [older tyre] offers more stability on the edge and less movement. A lot of riders have been complaining about the movement they could feel on the entry to the corner. Which was unprecise and they feel happier with something stiffer, which gives them more feedback.

"It's only a tiny difference. For example last year we changed the profile and that was a big difference at Valencia. The construction change is not such a big change. It's an evolution I would say."

As has been the case so far this season, the new front is to be made available in soft, medium and hard compounds.

At the Jerez test, KTM's Bradley Smith explained the choice to be made and rightly predicted the return of the stiffer design:

"[The stiffer tyre] is definitely solving some of the issues [the current] tyre has. With the tyre from Valencia 2016 you can break deeper and with the one we use now you can carry a bit more corner speed, because the edge grip is a bit better.

"With the bikes developing and moving forwards I think everyone will go back to the older style just because the mix between compound, casing and construction is a bit better.

"With the current one it's almost too soft, so we're trying to put a hard compound on top [to compensate] and it's just not working. So going back to a stiffer construction with a softer compound should be better."

As well as Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) were among the first to raise doubts about the softer front. They were joined by most of the Honda riders, who rely on hard braking for their lap time.

One rider who will not be happy with the decision is triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo. The new Ducati rider still prefers the current tyre and stated on Friday that the 'fair' solution would be to make both tyre options available.

By Peter McLaren

Want more? CLICK HERE for the MotoGP Homepage...



Loading Comments...