Valentino Rossi believes that Michelin’s rear-tyre problems in MotoGP are Ducati-related, as well as being associated with the taller and heavier riders.
The previous round was run in two segments to MotoGP’s ‘flag-to-flag’ rules after Scott Redding had suffered a rear-tyre delamination in practice in Argentina, and Loris Baz had a huge blow-out in testing in Malaysia.
When asked if he thought the problem was specific to taller riders, Yamaha rider Rossi replied: “For me, it’s altogether. It’s the taller rider, a bit heavier like Baz and Redding, especially it’s the bike.
“So it’s a tall rider with the bike,” he clarified. “During the winter tests and the first races, with Yamaha we never had a problem.
“Last week [in Argentina] we were ready to race 25 laps, and about feeling on the bike and our data on the tyre temperature, we didn't have any problems.”
"Not good for the show"
Rossi has called upon the satellite Ducati teams to rectify their issues, for the good of the sport.
“I hope the other bikes, in this case Ducati, can fix the problem,” Rossi added. “Otherwise all the manufacturers have to race with a very hard tyre and that’s not good for the show, not good for the performance.
“They have to fix their problems. Not the official team, because they seem to work well in order to make sure that the tyres resist well and not make them overheat."
COTA renowned as a tyre eater
Rossi admitted that Austin’s Circuit of the Americas is particularly tough on MotoGP rubber, with its switchback turns and long acceleration zones asking big questions of the Bridgestone tyres used previously.
“In 2014 and last year with the Yamaha, for us the problem was we damaged very much the tyre on the right side,” he said. “In 2014 it was a big problem, but last year fortunately we were able to manage it to the end of the race.
“But now we have to understand the Michelin, because it looks like they are a little bit stronger, a bit more resistant to wear. Maybe they resist all race, we need to understand the amount of grip and the way to ride the bike.
“We have to wait to tomorrow and hope that the problem of degradation with the Michelin is better.”