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A crucial new MotoGP timeline still isn't fast enough

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

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Michelin will debut its 2025 MotoGP front tyre in Valencia post-season testing next week - but has told The Race exclusively it doesn't expect it to be raced next year.

Michelin has designed the tyre to cope with the added forces created by the rapidly developing modern MotoGP machines now equipped with ride height devices and extensive aerodynamics, and the aim is to try to alleviate issues with front tyre pressures that have been an issue at recent rounds.

New rules were introduced midway through the 2023 season to penalise racers who fail to meet Michelin's mandatory minimum front tyre pressure. So far only Aleix Espargaro has been handed a three-second sanction, with two-thirds of the grid handed a warning.

Those warnings are a part of the gamble that teams now have to play in every race as the pressure in Michelin's tyres rise dramatically based on a rider's position in the pack.

They will spike if stuck in traffic behind another rider, which means teams have to guesstimate their riders' positions before even reaching the grid to establish if they need to set the pressure high enough so that it will be above the minimum pressure or low enough that it won’t spike so high as to leave the bike unrideable.

This situation should be different in 2024, with no warnings set to be issued to riders.

Instead, a first breach of the rule (and every subsequent one) will result in a disqualification, something that has prompted riders to push Michelin to do something about the situation with the tyre design as soon as possible.

Michelin's two-wheeled racing boss Piero Taramasso confirmed exclusively to The Race that its new design will make its debut on Tuesday at the Valencia post-season test.

“We designed a new front tyre and this tyre will be tested here next week," he said.

"This tyre will be less sensitive to pressure and temperature variation, because the volume will be bigger. New carcass, new profile, and a little bit taller than the old one.

“We will test here for the first time with the official riders, but we’ve already done a test with the test riders and they were quite positive.

"If it goes well next week, we will propose this tyre for the next official tests in 2024 and it will be introduced for the races in 2025.”

The Race says

A new 2025 tyre isn’t good enough

It’s good that Michelin is working hard to get MotoGP's much-needed front tyre ready as soon as possible - but given the potential for huge disruption that next year’s tyre pressure rules bring, planning a 2025 debut simply isn’t good enough.

Between now and the start of the 2024 season, there's going to be at least seven days of pre-season testing at Valencia, Sepang, and Lusail, plus another three for test riders and concession status teams - a situation that’s likely to include both Honda and Yamaha once MotoGP alters its rules.

If MotoGP is to avoid the disaster of having multiple riders disqualified every weekend, then it needs to do everything it can to speed up Michelin's development work - which should start with mandating the use of the new front tyre (and only the new front tyre) on at least half of those seven days.

However, it should be prepared to go even further than that.

Right now, it’s commonplace to hear Friday morning’s FP1 sessions derided as largely useless in terms of setting up bikes for afternoon races - so why not simply insist that teams must also use Michelin’s new front in those sessions too, in an attempt to turbocharge the development process?

While bringing the new tyre for testing before the end of 2023 is a positive step, Taramasso said that any attempt to deliver it in time for next season is unlikely.

“It’s very difficult because with a new front tyre you need the time to test and validate in different track conditions, different temperatures," he said.

"We really need one season to do that.”

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