Michelin: Tyres nothing to do with Marquez crash

Marc Marquez. Picture: MotoGP.com

Michelin says that its revised tyre specification was not a factor in Marc Marquez’s monster highside at the Indonesian MotoGP.

Marquez has been diagnosed with diplopia (double vision) for the second time in five months after his huge Turn 7 crash during the Warm Up session at Mandalika, yet again raising questions about his future.

The six-time premier class champion had been set to start from 14th in that afternoon’s race, which he would be ruled out of due to concussion, having also crashed in Free Practice 2 and twice in Qualifying 1.

He was far from the only rider to struggle for grip, with fellow champion Joan Mir also crashing in Q1, after championship leader Enea Bastianini had gone down late in FP2.

Michelin had brought a new-construction tyre to the Indonesian Grand Prix relative to that which riders used in pre-season testing at Mandalika.

The compounds remained the same but were wrapped in a stiffer casing, a change motivated by the relatively high temperatures experienced at the circuit.

Circuit management also commissioned work of its own between the test and grand prix, with a partial resurface of the venue after it broke up during its first MotoGP action in February, although it continued to offer relatively low grip.

Repsol Honda team principal Alberto Puig was far from pleased about Marquez’s crash, as well as the lack of competitiveness of both #93 and team-mate Pol Espargaro, considering how they fared in testing five weeks earlier.

“Marc had these three crashes and we have to try to understand why, because his crash from [the Warm Up] was brutal,” Puig told MotoGP’s official website in the hours after the incident.

“Honestly speaking, we need to analyse. They [Michelin] brought here a different tyre and we have to understand everything, and at this moment it’s difficult.

“Our rider crashed and we want to understand, so I don’t think I can give you any precise info.

“Finally, he had a massive crash and we decided it was not correct under the circumstance after this concussion in the head to bring him to the track.”

Michelin’s Piero Taramasso, however, claims they have definitively ruled out tyres as a factor in the crash.

“We analysed the crash data and I can rule out that it was due to the tyres,” he told Italian outlet GPOne.com.

According to Taramasso, the tyres would not have lasted the race if not for the change of construction, which is one that had already been used years ago.

“We always put safety first, even when it comes to performance,” he said.

“The test tyres would not have held up to the race distance because the temperatures were very high and none of the compounds worked; all the riders and all the teams noticed it.

“At the end of the tests, I talked to all the technical directors and team managers explaining the situation to them and telling them that there would be a change for the GP.

“The only possible technical solution was this casing that we had already used in 2017 and 2018; we paired it with the compounds used in the tests so as not to upset everything.

“These casings are able to lower the tyre temperature by 15 to 20 degrees; that was what was needed.”

The MotoGP race was shortened from 27 laps to 20 due to safety reasons, said to be related to the high temperatures.

However, the Moto2 encounter which preceded it was also shortened, and the intermediate class runs on Dunlop tyres.

As riders would affirm, the cutting back of those races was in fact necessitated by more break-up of the track surface at the last corner, with no suggestions of concerns about the capability of the rubber.

Round 3 of the MotoGP season is the Argentina Grand Prix, next weekend, with Marquez’s participation dependent on a check-up on his eyes in coming days.

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