With the Catalunya MotoGP postponed from its usual June date until the end of September due to the Covid pandemic, Michelin was forced to rely on historical weather data for the Barcelona area to make its pre-season tyre selection.

Past data suggested an average ambient temperature of 27 degrees, which is similar to June.

But this weekend turned out to be much cooler (and windier) than expected, with a race day air temp of just 17 and track temp of 20 degrees.

For comparison, July's Andalucia race took place at Jerez with a track temperature of 59 degrees!

As a result of the cold and slippery Catalunya surface, all 22 riders selected the softest rear tyre for the race. 17 riders also opted for the softest front, while the other five chose the medium. No-one raced the hards.

Even with the softest fronts, many riders found the lesser-used left-side of the tyre was getting too cool. Four riders fell after losing the front, but most were able to adapt and Fabio Quartararo's race-winning time was only two-seconds slower than Marc Marquez in 2019. The Frenchman's best lap was several tenths quicker than Marquez last year.

 

 

“This has been a very demanding weekend for all concerned," said Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager Piero Taramasso. "We have to choose the tyres a long time ago, before the start of the season and we were coming to Barcelona in September instead of the usual June.

"But after looking at historical weather and seeing that both times of the year are similar, we picked a range of tyres with that in mind. Unfortunately, we have had unseasonally cold conditions and this made it very difficult to get the heat in the tyres and for the riders to get the grip from the track.

"Our Technicians worked tirelessly with every rider all weekend to assist with advice for the optimum compound for the set-ups they were using, in an aim to give the best grip that could be extracted from the asphalt.

"I feel that we did very well under these exceptional circumstances and stand by the choice of tyres, it is not easy to guess the weather for a track when you have not been to the circuit at that time before.

"With all this in mind the range provided four raceable tyres for Sunday, of which three were used, so we didn’t go far wrong with our selection."

The upcoming French Grand Prix at Le Mans is also forecast to be chilly - but that's also the case for the event's traditional May date, meaning Michelin's tyre selection should be well suited to such conditions.

 

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