KTM unhappy with Portugal MotoGP tyre "handicap"

Both factory KTM riders are unhappy with Michelin’s decision to remove last year’s race-winning front tyre from this weekend’s MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix allocation.

KTM unhappy with Portugal MotoGP tyre "handicap"
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Miguel Oliveira dominated last year’s Portimao race from pole position using one of the two hard front tyres Michelin brought for MotoGP’s first visit to the Algarve International Circuit.

However, that tyre has been removed from the allocation for 2021, which Michelin says was by unanimous decision from the riders last year.

Oliveira disagrees with this and says the harder tyres available right now are “too soft” for the KTM.

“Right now, to not have the H [hard] front, the S tyre [as it is designated], for us is a huge handicap,” Oliveira said after ending Friday practice eighth.

“For us It was a very good tyre, it is true we and sometimes Aprilia were the only ones to use this kind of tyre, and sometimes Honda as well.

“At this moment we are also the only one to use the harder compound available, both in the first and second race, that we feel is too soft.

“That is a huge handicap, we cannot still understand the decision to take out from the allocation the S tyre.

“Michelin is a little bit in disagreement, they say it was the riders’ opinion. But the fact is we don’t have this tyre anymore.

"It was a tyre that was working okay with 30 degrees track [temperature].

“We come to a track where we reach easily 30 degrees this time of the year, and also we have this tyre at Qatar where we race at night time [when it’s colder], and we don’t have it [the old hard] here.

“So, it’s a contradiction that we have this allocation.

“But we’re here to compete. Everyone has the same tyres available, for sure the tyres are suiting some bikes more than others.

“So, it’s up to us and find something to so a saving job to be able to ride better.”

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Teammate Brad Binder was similarly critical of Michelin’s current front compounds, calling the removal of last year’s hard front “a big disadvantage”.

“Yeah, for me it’s quite clear that it’s definitely a big disadvantage for us, because the hardest front tyre we have here is way too weak,” Binder added.

“It’s like bubblegum when braking on the front end to corners.

“It’s really difficult because of that, but it’s what we have and we’ll have to play with the setting a little bit and try to make it a lot better.”

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