Michelin is all set to replace Bridgestone as MotoGP’s sole tyre supplier, 2016 onwards. MotoGP riders recently tested the Michelin tyres on their current MotoGP bikes after the Mugello race weekend.
However, the test didn’t go very well with Vallentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, and Jorge Lorenzo when all three suffered low-side crashes during race simulations on the new Michelin compound, giving rise to the speculation that the front tyre was performing strangely.
Pascal Couasanon, Michelin’s motorsport director, said: “One has to be very careful in trying to interpret what goes on during these tests, Because the tests usually take place soon after (a race), the bikes are not necessarily set up to run on Michelin tyres.”
He added: “For the riders, it’s a bit complex; they basically have to forget the handling of the current spec tyre and discover something completely new. The bikes need to be correctly set-up and the riders need to get to grips with the handling of our tyres.”
He believes that the complications encountered during the Mugello testing were no fair reflection of 2016 tyres, and that it is an ongoing development. Riders will also have to modify their riding style according to the tyre’s characteristics since it will be different from the Bridgestone tyres.
Couasnon added that irrespective of the further course of action they take to improvise the company’s offering between now and 2016 season, introduction of a new tyre manufacturer will inevitably shake up the competition.
He said: “I think that the front-runners are questioning themselves, while the guys running closer to the rear of the pack are seeing this change as a great opportunity!”
The next testing of Michelin tyres is scheduled to take place after the Czech GP race next month.