MotoGP: Michelin’s Back to the Drawing Board

Data from 2016 shows that there have been over 1,000 spills across the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes, higher than any other year – but what gives?

Fingers have been pointed at newcomer Michelin’s MotoGP tires, and with such a drastic change in compound and supplier following Bridgestone’s exit in 2015, it seems only natural to throw a little bit of shade on the French manufacturer.

Source: @crash_motogp/Twitter
Source: @crash_motogp/Twitter

It goes without saying to anyone that’s a fan of two-wheeled Motorsports that there is a present danger that simply does not exist in its four-wheeled counterparts. We observe significantly shorter maximum race laps than other Motorsports purely due to the face that taking a super-powered bike around the track twenty times is a fuckton more physically draining than taking a car ‘round.

Regardless, the significantly higher fall rate from this year does need to be investigated – and Michelin has stepped up to claim responsibility promptly. Piero Taramasso, Michelin’s manager of its Two-Wheel Motorsport group had a reflective glance to share back on 2016:

“This was the first season for us and also the teams… We saw teams improving race-by-race, as they understand better how the tire works. – Piero Taramasso

HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, SAXONY - JULY 17:  Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team heads down a straight during the MotoGP race during the MotoGp of Germany - Race at Sachsenring Circuit on July 17, 2016 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, SAXONY – JULY 17: Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team heads down a straight during the MotoGP race during the MotoGp of Germany – Race at Sachsenring Circuit on July 17, 2016 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

It appeared that weather was Michelin’s biggest enemy in their debut year, (Sepang, anyone?) and while it would have been nice that there weren’t any issues to begin with, they’re sharp response times to the issues they faced has been nothing if admirable.

“When we arrived in Assen it was a big, big surprise,” Goubert admitted. “Conditions were tremendous and the grip level was not at all where we expected it to be and basically we suffered many crashes. Having said that, once again we reacted very quickly, within two weeks for the following race at the Sachsenring we brought two new [wet] front tyres with different compounds and profiles and the results were very positive. As they were in Phillip Island and in Sepang.”

Like with anything in the off-season, only time will tell. Here’s to hoping that Michelin can save some face heading into 2017 and give our boys a bit more of an assurance when it comes to their safety.

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