For the first time in two seasons, a new tyre construction will be introduced by Michelin for use in the upcoming MotoGP World Championship.

The headline news is that the revised rear casing - tested on six occasions last year before being given the green light - offers more performance, meaning lap times are set to tumble.

But the key factor for title runner-up Andrea Dovizioso is learning the secrets of how the revised tyre will behave over a full race distance.

The Italian will do his best to understand the new rubber during the Sepang and Losail tests but confessed the 'reality' won't be known until the opening race in Qatar on March 8.

"The tyre is a big change because it will affect everybody," Dovizioso said. "How much we can't know yet, but it can make some gaps and make the races a completely different story, like always.

"You can try to be ready, but only the race shows the reality.

"It's not clear [at the moment], also for the competitors, because it takes time to understand the new tyre, because the change looks like it wasn't that small. It looks like the grip is a bit more, but the casing is a bit different.

"When you make 4-5 laps it's one story, like at a test where everybody is fast, but the race shows different things.

"The feeling [about the new tyre] is good from everybody, because when you have a bit more grip it's a nice feeling. But to be fast for 5 laps, or 15 laps but you stop twice, is a different story to when you make 12 laps at a time, for example.

"Just the race will show the reality because it's different to the test. So we have to be smart and try to be ready for the first round."

"Sincerely we haven’t had the chance to really try [the new tyre yet] because in the Jerez test, the last day was raining," added team-mate Danilo Petrucci. "The first day felt more-or-less the same thing, but as Dovi said one or two flying laps or a short run of five laps is different than 20-25 lap race.

"So it's still early to know everything, but we have a lot of time next month to understand this and we'll see. For sure to understand the behaviour of the tyre will be one of the keys as always and year-by-year it’s getting more important.

Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna confirmed chassis and suspension settings will need to be modified due to the added grip.

"You know, it will be quite a big change, not only in terms of performance, but in terms of… you have to manage because you have more grip, but the bike becomes more nervous," he said.

"So you have to find the proper set-up, not only in terms of chassis but in terms of electronics and so on. It seems a small change, but it could become quite important."

 

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