Michelin were prepared to continue supplying the current front tyre alongside the stiffer option for 'one or two races'.

However the MotoGP riders decided against it, by a majority vote in April. They then confirmed that verdict in Friday's Safety Commission meeting, after which the change to the stiffer tyre from Mugello was officially confirmed.

"In Austin we mentioned the different possibilities available to go forward if the other [stiffer] tyre was selected," Michelin's Nicolas Goubert explained at Le Mans on Saturday.

"The riders discussed between them and said once a decision is made [on which front tyre] they would be happier to have everything in one type of tyre. So it was good to double-check [yesterday], because sometimes they change their mind - and they are allowed to! - but they confirmed what they had said at the beginning."

But not everyone agreed with the decision.

The vote to use only the stiffer tyre, which provides more stability in corner entry, was won by a decisive margin of 20 votes to 3. Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo is known to have been one of those calling for the current tyre, which most riders say has better edge grip, to also be available at future rounds.

Goubert said Michelin would have been happy to offer both front tyres for a limited time: "Last year we had two different constructions during the season and we kept the choice of both at a few races. So it's not unheard of. It makes sense in a way as well.

"The option to continue [with both] for one or two races was discussed in Austin and the riders said they'd rather not. For us it's not a big deal; if we had to do it, we would have done it. But they decided not to, most of them preferred [only one].

"When [the vote result] is overwhelming I don't see why you should go against. If it had been 12-11 it would have been more difficult."

But Goubert did have sympathy for Lorenzo's situation.

"I think what is bothering probably Jorge - and I understand his position - is because he was starting to feel comfortable. He made a big change for him to go to Ducati and then changed a lot of things for him to get more comfortable on the bike. He had a good result in Jerez and then he has to change [the tyre].

"So he needs a little bit of time and it's understandable he's not completely happy with the decision. But it's a common decision, made by everyone, and I'm sure he will get used to it quite quickly.

"Most of the riders will feel more comfortable because from the beginning of the season we had a lot of requests and complaints about front movement, which we didn't have last year. But of course they will need a little bit of time to set-up the bike properly and get used to a new thing.

"But we're talking about a small variation in the tyre construction stiffness. It's not like going back to the profile we had [before Valencia] last year."

The stiffer front tyre made its debut at the 2016 Valencia finale, before being softened for pre-season testing and used in all races up to and including this weekend at Le Mans.

By Peter McLaren

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