MotoGP may have cured a long-time rider frustration

MotoGP’s control tyre manufacturer Michelin has quietly made a significant change to the series’ rules for 2024 – in order to remove one of the biggest perceived causes of performance inconsistency in the championship.

It has done this by making sure that racers and teams will no longer receive preheated tyres.

The result of teams placing a rear tyre into their warmers and bringing it up to race temperature only to then not use it, preheated tyres have not been very popular among riders – with the process of warming them up and down repeatedly is believed by many teams to cause inconsistencies to develop when they are eventually fitted to the bikes.

Initially randomly included to riders’ allocations in order to reduce waste, this was changed after an increasing number of complaints – with a rider’s own preheated rubber flagged as such and allocated back to them so that it could instead be used up in the less crucial practice sessions rather than qualifying or races.

However, with even practice sessions becoming increasingly important thanks to the pressure on Friday afternoons to secure a path straight to Q2, rider complaints had remained – and have prompted Michelin to modify the procedure again to now remove preheated tyres from the allocation altogether.

“We changed also the for 2024,” Michelin boss Piero Taramasso told The Race, “so that now, based on 2023 data and all the statistics, we looked at how many preheated tyres they generated, and we decided that for 2024 we will give new rear tyres to the teams, and allow them to generate 40 preheated rear tyres. If they do more, then we will give them a fine.

“Last year, the one who generated the least in all the season was 30 rears. The one who did the most was like 60 or 70, more than double. You can see that one was working very well, and the other not in the right way.

“So we say that now the limit is 40, and then if you do more you will have to pay for the [extra] tyres.”

The new 2024 season also sees the introduction of new compounds of rubber on both the front and rear, something that Taramasso says is so far performing above expectations and contributed significantly to the lap record being shattered at both Sepang and Lusail during preseason testing.

“This range was designed to have a better consistency. We tried it last year in Valencia and Misano [tests] and the feedback was positive so we introduced it for 2024 and used it in Sepang and Qatar.

“In Sepang the laptime was fast and consistent, and the comments from riders were that we could see that they’re more consistent and that they could feel more grip. This is something that we didn’t look for, but it’s what it looks like.”

Luca Marini, Honda, MotoGP

The assertion that the changes are contributing to faster laptimes has been backed up by some of the riders – with new Repsol Honda signing Luca Marini among those quick to praise Michelin and to admit that previous complaints about inconsistency have been improved upon substantially so far in 2024.

“I think that tyres have made a huge step,” he admitted when asked about the testing laptimes. “No one tells you about it, but the tyres are better.

“You can find five tyres now that are very good, and maybe only one with a little less performance that you can only feel when you’re really pushing at 100%.”


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