Michelin has withdrawn both rear tyre compounds that have been in use during the Argentina MotoGP weekend, and will instead introduce a new construction of tyre for Sunday’s race.
Pramac Ducati rider Scott Redding’s rear tyre delaminated during fourth practice at Turn 6, causing the session to be stopped twice and prompting concerns about the suitability of Michelin’s medium compound rear around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
The incident was reminiscent of Loris Baz’s blowout during the Sepang test in February, which occurred at high speed and led to a heavy crash for the Frenchman.
Michelin said it would investigate the incident, and following a consultation with team bosses, race direction and IRTA after qualifying, the French firm has decided to withdraw both its medium and hard compound rear tyres from use.
A new type of rear tyre – with a stiffer construction but the same compound as the medium, and which was recently tested by former MotoGP rider Colin Edwards in Qatar – will now be mandatory for all riders.
As such, an extra 30 minute warm-up session will be added to the schedule for Sunday morning to help the riders acclimatise to the new rubber.
Lorenzo voices concerns
Speaking in the post-qualifying press conference, reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was vocal with his criticism of Michelin, which had previously put Baz's crash in Malaysia down to irregular tyre pressures.
“For sure it’s not the ideal situation, for sure we are not very quiet because we saw three bikes with this problem at the rear," said Lorenzo.
“We hope Michelin investigates well what is happening and in the future we don’t have these kind of problems, because it’s very risky for the riders.
“I don’t know what is happening, but the weight of the rider doesn’t matter, or the [tyre] pressure – this shouldn’t happen in MotoGP."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont