Analyzing The Michelin Tire Test: Despite Secrecy And Crashes, Positive Results

The departure of Bridgestone and the arrival of Michelin as official tire supplier to MotoGP is an extremely delicate operation, in terms of marketing, tire development, and motorcycle set up. Bridgestone have paid a lot of money for the exclusive rights to MotoGP branding with their tires for 2015; Michelin have done the same for the rights from 2016 onwards. Neither company wants to tarnish their brand or see the value of their investment diminished, either by rider comments expressing a preference one way or another, or by lap time comparisons showing either firm up.

This posed problems for the Michelin test, held on the fourth day of the Sepang MotoGP test. After the factory test riders had tried the Michelins at the first Sepang test, it was the turn of the MotoGP regulars. To avoid any comments which might favor one factory or another, Bridgestone imposed a blanket ban on riders or team members speaking to the media after the test. All Bridgestone branding was removed from bikes and leathers, and no visible Michelin branding was allowed, even down to the manufacturer's logo on the tire sidewalls. With major money on the line, the PR gagging order was enforced rigidly, and observed religiously. No official times were released, nor made unofficially available by the teams. A range of times have seeped out from journalists present, but given that only a few laps were timed by a few people out of practice with using a stopwatch (or its modern equivalent, the smartphone), those times can be taken as guidelines only.

Perhaps the biggest problem was posed by the requirements of tire testing. The riders have just completed three days of testing, building speed and confidence on their 2015 bikes with the latest generation of Bridgestones. They have put in a lot of laps in extreme heat, and are running out of reserves of energy, despite their almost superhuman fitness levels. Their minds and muscle memory is completely attuned to the Bridgestones, so putting them onto a different tire with different characteristics poses a major risk. The riders are focused on pushing hard, and expecting a particular feel from the tires, front and rear. It is potentially a recipe for disaster.

And so it proved to be. Several riders went down heavily at Sepang on Thursday, destroying some expensive machinery into the bargain. Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso crashed in Turn 3, a fast and furious corner, Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro fell at Turn 5, where the track drops away. Damage was extensive, Lorenzo's bike being almost completely written off, and Dovizioso's Ducati GP15 – the only one at his disposal – getting properly knocked about. As the two riders who crash least in the paddock, that Dovizioso and Lorenzo should go is rather worrying, and points to a serious problem. But then at this stage in tire development, that is exactly what is to be expected. Fortunately, everyone walked away from the crashes, though the same could not be said of their bikes.

Michelin had brought a fair stack of tires for the riders to test. They were given four different front tires, and three different rears, with a focus on construction and profile rather than compounds. Compounds, Michelin boss Nicolas Goubert told Speedweek, will come at a later stage. For the moment, it was important to get the basic shape, strength and construction of the tires right. Tire sizes are all 17-inch, rather than the 16.5-inch tires used until now for the Bridgestones. The reasons for this are simple: Michelin feel the knowledge gained from using a standard size used in road tires will transfer more directly into production. Though the tire sizes are different, the outer diameter is exactly the same, the difference coming in the height of the sidewall.

The tires used at the test are more or less the same as Michelin have been testing since late last year, though they did bring a different profile for the front tire to the test. The old tire was more of a V shape, while the new tire is more rounded. The V profile was more agile in turning, but the rounder profile was more stable in braking. According to Michelin, the riders overwhelmingly preferred the new, rounder front.

Michelin told Speedweek that the general feedback was that grip from the rear was good, but this was causing problems with the front. This appears to have been the cause of the crashes, with all four crashes coming as riders get on the gas and start pushing the front. Finding they have more grip than expected at the rear, the riders start opening the throttle earlier and more each lap. At some point, the drive from the rear overwhelms the grip from the front, the front tire pushes, then lets go, and the rider goes down. Michelin attributed the crashes to an imbalance between front and rear grip.

Does this mean that the Michelins are inferior to the Bridgestones? Not necessarily. Normally, once the front starts to push, then a crew chief would start to modify set up, changing weight distribution, geometry, wheelbase to transfer grip from the rear to the front. Eventually, such changes would get passed on to the factory engineers, who will modify their designs to accommodate the different balance of the tires.

But this is not possible at the Michelin test, as the aim of the test was to evaluate tires, not chase set up. The first rule of testing, as in all forms of engineering and science, is to change one variable at a time. If the goal is to assess the performance of various tire construction and profiles, you leave the set up unchanged, and switch tires. Only then do you get a usable and consistent set of data. Track conditions might change as a result of the heat, but that is not a variable which you can control for. Everything else needs to stay the same.

The result was that Michelin got the data they need, but at a cost. They had hoped to avoid embarrassment, but broad coverage given to the crashes – the only thing the media were allowed to report on – do not make them look good. Because of the media blackout, the circumstances of the crashes are not being taken into account. Crashes were frankly inevitable, with tired riders chasing fast times, using a set up which had been optimized for a different brand of tire. There was no opportunity to work on the balance of the bikes or improve set up to handle the different characteristics of the Michelins, because the aim was to test tires, not set up.

Are Michelin to blame for the crashes? That would be very unfair. Michelin need to test with the factory riders, and they need to test as early as possible, to be ready for 2016. But scheduling a time and a place to do that testing is difficult and costly. Flying all of the teams to a circuit, with all of their equipment, then giving the riders a day or so to get up to speed would be expensive, so running the test on the last day of the Sepang test is a logical choice. Not necessarily a good choice, but one of the least worst available.

So what of the times being posted? Nothing official is available, and the different media outlets who were present failed to work together to produce a more reliable list, meaning that different sources show different times. Broadly, the times are comparable to those set on the Bridgestones, with Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso posting 2:00.1 laps, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo clocked at 2:01.0, Dani Pedrosa on 2:01.5, Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro doing high 2:01s, Bradley Smith low 2:02s. Marc Márquez and Valentino Rossi did a couple of long runs, the pace averaging somewhere in the 2:01s.

What do any of those times mean? It is hard to draw firm conclusions from the times available. They were recorded by hand, and unlike at an official test with official timing, only a handful of laps were timed. There is not a complete list of every lap posted, to give a sense of what a race pace might be, and to draw up an order. But the times recorded suggest that the Michelins will be competitive with the times set on the Bridgestones, which is exactly what you would expect. Michelin will have used those times as a benchmark to beat. If they don't do that, they will look bad.

The results of the test also underline that different tire manufacturers have different concepts, and that these concepts remain unchanged over the years. When Michelin left MotoGP, their tires were praised for having masses of rear grip, but lacking the ultimate grip of the Bridgestone fronts. The spate of front ends washing out suggest that little has changed since 2008.

This also highlights the changes that will need to happen for 2016. Set ups will change, weight moving forward to assist front end grip, and create a better balance between front and rear. Riding styles will change too, riders moving their faith from the front tire to the rear, and using that to control the bike a little more. All these changes will make their way back to the factory racing departments, where engineers will try to improve mechanical grip front and rear. Modified frames and swing arms will travel back and forth between track and factory, in search of the best compromise. Suspension companies will pore over data, modifying internals to accommodate the different damping characteristics.

In other words, it is all going to cost an awful lot of money. Changing tire manufacturers is by far a bigger deal than the introduction of spec electronics. There will be winners, and there will be losers, some factories will get it right, and some will get it wrong, and take time to catch up again. My own personal thoughts? Don't bet against Honda. With the most money, the best brains, and the best rider in the world, they will surely be the factory to beat.

Total votes: 81
Total votes: 145

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Comments

So the smart money is on things settling into the same order we have now? It seems rather wasteful to spend so much money for such a result although it will be interesting to see who does a better job of adapting. And, of course, that expenditure keeps an army of engineers, technicians, designers, riders and team management in jobs doesn't it.

Total votes: 123

But... in the old michelin days Lorenzo was not adverse to launching himself into orbit on a relatively frequent basis. Sure he might have improved in consistency since then, but only on bridgestones.

Total votes: 133

I forgot all about that until you brought it up. Him launching himself into the atmosphere in China and Laguna Seca (which I saw live), were what made me believe traction control only goes so far. He might hold the record for thrown in the ejection height in the 4 stroke era.

Total votes: 123

That was in his first year, all of these guys have had plenty of big crashes on every variation of bike they've ridden.

It's a bit unfair to Lorenzo's talent to suggest Bridgestone tyres are the reason he isn't having huge crashes every weekend.

Total votes: 111

I think the real problem here is the single tyre supplier. The main problem with the tyre competition was that, apart from two companies dominating it -and anyone sorry enough to be on Dunlops getting left behind- the qualifying tyres and overnight specials unfairly advantaged certain teams with lots of money.

I say bring back multiple suppliers of spec tyres. Don't allow overnight specials, but rather give them an allocation like the current system, but allow more than one manufacturer in. We'll probably still end up with only two manufacturers at a time, but at least we won't have all this trouble with switching the entire field at once.

Total votes: 143

overnight specials were banned for a couple of years. it was during those years Michelin lost the tire-war to Bridgestone.

Total votes: 154

...in 2007 when the 800 was introduced so I don't see them as a given favorite for 2016. Maybe this is what will bring back the Ducatis to the top, like Bridgestone did in 2007?

Total votes: 128

..."nobody ever lost the front on the gas"???

I think the explanation of *why* riders crashed, in paragraph 7, is not entirely accurate.

Total votes: 124

I think what's being said is that the GP-level tires offer so much more grip than us non GP riders can ever imagine, you can open the throttle while at steep lean angles. While doing so, the rear tire will have a bigger contact patch than the front. if still leaned, the front tire is being pushed while on its side. this push is overwhelming the edge grip.

That's my interpretation, anyway.

Total votes: 128

That is close to the situation. First, these bikes are being ridden with a Bridgestone set up, where the front has all the grip and they are trying to find grip at the rear. That means moving weight to the rear (as an aside, Jerry Burgess and the crew spent the first half of 2008, afer Valentino Rossi had switched from Michelin to Bridgestone, moving weight further back to accommodate the front grip). The Michelins have the grip the other way round, less at the front, a lot at the rear. That means that the front is more likely to wash out anyway.

What is happening, as I understand it, is that the riders are trying to exploit the grip they have at the rear by opening the gas earlier and earlier. As highside specialist says, this means opening the gas when the bike is still very leaned over. Do that on a Bridgestone, and the rear washes out, or worse, slips and grips and tosses you over the highside. With the Michelins, the front is pushing through the corners anyway, because the bike balance is wrong. Opening the gas early at full lean pushes the front further and further, the bike runs wide, and eventually the front lets go.

Normally, getting on the gas is a good remedy for most problems, but the problem the riders are describing is happening at the limits of their ability, which is far beyond anything normal riders (even normal racers) can manage. They are getting into problems on the gas, not using the gas to get themselves out of problems. 

Total votes: 137

So after only a couple of tests and with a different rim size the Michelins are nearly as fast as the Bridgestones while still using a Bridgestone bike setup. If the teams were able to tweak the bike setup, had more than one day to test and had riders willing to push for a fast time they would have broken the track record.

Michelin has not made a GP tire in over 6 years while Bridgestone has 'developed' their GP tires thoughout that period. This says a lot about the material being supplied by Bridgestone: enough quality to prevent major embarrasment (but not entirely successful at that, se PI 2013) but nothing extra thrown in, and God forbid any actual R&D happens because that costs money and this is after all, a marketing campaign.

I'm nearly at the stage of looking for a new favorite sport.

Chris

Total votes: 138

"The reasons for this are simple: Michelin feel the knowledge gained from using a standard size used in road tires will transfer more directly into production. Though the tire sizes are different, the outer diameter is exactly the same, the difference coming in the height of the sidewall."

They should get into the manure business. They'll never run out of product. As if the production market couldn't use 16.5" diameter tires just as easily as 17's. The relationship between the tire size and the inner diameter affects all manner of performance characteristics.

Total votes: 136

Valid point except the production market has been using 17" rims for so long and they work so well I don't see the oems wanting/needing to switch. Also then everyone who purchased forged 17" Marchesini or OZ rims for their gsxr, fireblades , etc would now have $3000 paper weights if the oems switched to 17" and the tire manufacturers focused on 16.5"

Total votes: 137

My point is that 17" inner diameter is not a magical attribute that makes the manufacturers use production relevant materials, designs, and technologies. Perhaps 17" inner diameter will make the tires more similar to road tires, but only because of other extenuating rules and regulations about rim width, total tire diameter, and so forth. The 17" concept is mainly a canard, dreamed up by marketing people who think the world exists to absorb their version of reality.

No really, these tires are more production relevant than anything previously, and it will improve our street tires!!! We promise!! Soon racing slicks will be OEM equipment, and you'll all be dragging your elbows!

The world is not populated by 15 year olds, though they've clearly taken over marketing and advertising.

Total votes: 113

17 inch tires are like the QWERTY keyboard. Far from ideal, and a solution to a problem lost in the mists of time. The fact is that the vast majority of roadgoing motorcycles use 17-inch wheels, the market having settled on this as a good solution between stability and turning. As a result, Michelin feel that they can learn the most by using 17-inch wheels in MotoGP.

Total votes: 113

Safe bet that it saves them some money and difficulty to use 17" as well. I can see that it makes the advancements made more directly and easily transferred.

I have to wonder how much is based on something else: an expressed desire by the powers that be in Dorna to have a change in tire characteristics.

Total votes: 126

I see little need to get riled up. Does anyone think that without even sorting setup for the tires they are going to work nearly flawlessly? Man,, what a tough crowd! Shift a bit of set up, and adjust riding style a bit, and badabing badaboom. Ducati has the most to gain here methinks btw. Right now I am pondering how much Gigi and company considered the decrease in F grip we all knew has been coming when making the new bike. It just makes sense that a bike undergoing a revolution would synch up better w a ture change than one that was not. What if the WHOLE BIKE was developed with projections of the likely Michelin characteristics in mind? Oooh, the possibilities are tantalizing.

I am looking fwd to the shuffle! The Honda - Yamaha cup has had me yawning. Let's mix things up a bit and enjoy, I say. Some riders and bikes are going to gel well w the new tire and surge ahead. I remember racing and trying Bstone instead of my Dunlops, and having one horrific race trying to keep it upright. Then switching to Pirelli and WOW! It was a new lease on life. Others did the exact opposite. Perhaps, just like certain riders and their style fit certain bikes, we will see "Bstone riders" and "Michelin riders."

Best 2 yrs of MotoGP interest for me in a looooong time.

Total votes: 138

I am certainly welcoming the return of Michelin, as they were the no1 tyre supplier for a great many years. Only really getting beaten by the supply rule change at the start of the 2007 season.

The overnight specials were an incredible committment to being the best, and whilst they couldn't/wouldn't supply all of their teams with these they were almost unbeatable. A better rule would have been to make Michelin supply all of their riders with at least one set of specials each race weekend. And possibly the drudgery of most of the Bridgestone sole supply era might have been avoided.

Michelin always seemed to have a better feel for the sport, and the fact that they are close to Bridgestones "developed" rubber with no setup time speaks volumes and is not entirely surprising to me at least.
with any luck as others have suggested this will shake things up.

Total votes: 118

everyone saying Michelin are close to Bs in terms of tire development but using top riders as a reference they are over 1s a lap off in pace with a worrying amount of fast front end crashes. A large number of lap records are smashed year on year at the moment on BS - see Julian Rider's article on Soup - and people think tire development has lacked recently? What series are you guys watching?

On this site it was said that when the factory riders would test Michelin that theyd all lap quicker than on Bs, which of course never happened. Seems people are buying the hype from somewhere. In the end Michelin will get the job done but is everyone currently not impressed at what they are seeing in Motogp?

Total votes: 106

Well no actually, 2014 was a repsol whitewash with the only consistent challenger being a 35 year old-albeit freak former champion. 2010-2012 were mostly a tri love fest between stoner, Jorge and Dani with predominantly predictable in line time trial racing.

Thankfully Marquez has upset the apple cart. And I don't believe the majority of punters give a toss if the race is 20 seconds longer if there is passing for the lead.

Why can't the tires go off during the race? (And Not because of faulty old stock) Why can't we see a choice of compounds that allows teams to take a chance on a race strategy? With the increased fuel allowance and controlled ECU, with any luck the main variables will be tyre, rider and mechanical setup in 2016.

Total votes: 118

The tires do go off during a race. Just because they're consistent doesn't mean they don't degrade. We've recently had riders with different riding styles going at it hammer and tongs with close racing. Tire choice for races has played itd part in races, off the top of my head I'm thinking indianapolis and Phillip Island last year where it was a factor.

I agree if Michelin tires go off more than Bs it could mix it up a bit but will it improve racing? Hard to say

Total votes: 105

A reminder, folks, that much as MotoGP rushed to embrace Bridgestone because of Stoner's winning ways on the 800 Ducati, when it was actually his talent that contributed significantly to his success, so was it with Garry McCoy. McCoy won some races by outrageously sliding the 16.5" tyre, and suddenly everyone had to have a 16.5.
Because of course it wasn't McCoy's light weight and background in speedway, and his raw talent, that saw him slide his way to wins in some GPs....no, it must have been the tyres. :-(

And we've been stuck with this odd size ever since, IIRC.

You wanna blame someone for the Bridgestones and their particular characteristics, blame the people who unceremoniously dumped Michelin and ran helter-skelter to get on the same tyres Casey had.
You know the story, I'll leave it up to you to recall the culprits.

Total votes: 121

The characteristics of the BS tyre certainly worked better for some riders, but completely didn't work for others (eg Elias). I think it's better for the team/rider to have a choice.

Total votes: 121

I've always liked McCoy but let's not be silly. He won three races and spent more time hurt than fighting for the lead, he did have an impact on what sliding did to tyres but I don't think he was the sole reason everyone went to a 16.5" wheel.

Bridgestone overcame Michelin in a very short space of time and at the same time that Stoner was showing their potential Michelin were faltering on their own too.

Total votes: 114

Yes I do, that sneaky varmet also stole all Caseys talent along with the tyres on his first go on a bike set up for Michelins. It just wasn't fair having the same tyres as the competition.. Is that you Casey?? Though I hadn't heard Rossi moonlighted as BS's chief technologist. I always thought though, it was Michelin who dropped their riders in it not the other way round.

Total votes: 110

I remember that the 16.5 inch wheel was the preferred choice of Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi as well. I therefore think to attribute the change to that rim size to Gary McCoy's slipping and sliding style of riding is a bit over the top maybe. What McCoy was famous for was using the softer compound tyres and yet not wearing them out despite riding the way he did. I also think that the first championship that Casey Stoner won with Ducati on a 800 cc machine with Bridgestone, cannot be attributed to his genius alone. His genius came more into play with the introduction of the spec tyre which obviously was not suiting the Ducati. And if we were to remember Stoner on the 990 cc LCR Honda that season was more about Stoner riding spectacularly but crashing pretty frequently and the usual cause was a low side. And the tyres were Michelins. The year 2007 was significant for both Ducati and Stoner with the switch to Bridgestone which supported the greater speed of the Ducati. (Everybody please remember the other Ducati genius Filippo Preziosi who designed that all conquering Ducati of 2007).

In the first year of the 800s the Yamaha and Honda doubted if Ducati was running an engine over the stipulated 800 cc. This even led to the FIM launching an investigation and finding that Ducati was well within the 800 cc stipulation. Then the speculation shifted to the valves on the engine. Most saying that Ducati was deriving its advantage from the desmodromic system that was allowing the engine to be revving more than the engines running on the spring valves. But Kawasaki and Suzuki had already started using pneumatic valves but where no where near the Yamaha and the Honda, leave alone the Ducati.

It was Valentino Rossi who identified Bridgestone tyres as the cause of the superior pace that the Ducati was able to generate and hold on to. This happened when Yamaha somewhere in the season also shifted to pneumatic valves. I cannot remember who the head of Honda was at that time, but he famously said that this had nothing to do with valves and argued that the spring valves were capable of revving hard. Honda changed to pneumatic valves only in 2008. But Valentino Rossi realised that his Yamaha despite all improvements was still not able to take him past Stoner's Ducati and therefore kicked and cried till he got Bridgestone tyres for 2008 and more importantly beat the Ducati and Stoner to reclaim his championship. I therefore think at that time the difference was the Bridgestone tyre built around Ducati in 2007 till the great Rossi made them do the same for him as well.

Let us be clear when we talk of the genius of Stoner. His genius did not win him a world title again on the Ducati. But he rode the wheels and tyres of the Ducati and won races, which is something that no other rider except perhaps for Capirossi, could achieve. It would really have been great to see what the situation would have been had Rossi not left Yamaha when Stoner moved to Honda. That would have been worth watching and seeing if Stoner could dominate. With no disrespect to Dani Pedrosa, he really is not made of the stuff that can beat a very talented rider on equal machinery. Lorenzo did run Stoner close but it would have to be Rossi on the Yamaha in 2011 which would give a perspective on who was capable of what and that unfortunately did not happen.

Till then I will say Stoner was a genius who could win races on the Ducati which others were not able to do. Talking about his genius beyond that would be misplaced. I would say that riders like Wayne Rainey and to a lesser extent Kevin Schwantz who could win world championships from under the nose of Mick Doohan (another enormous talent on a clearly superior Honda) would qualify to be called geniuses.

Total votes: 112

>>And if we were to remember Stoner on the 990 cc LCR Honda that season was more about Stoner riding spectacularly but crashing pretty frequently and the usual cause was a low side. And the tyres were Michelins.

Yes, he crashed a lot in his rookie year on 3rd tier Michelin tires, usually by losing the front. Once he got to the Bridgestones, who had a great front compared to Michelin's great rear (it still holds, see recent tire testing results) he won a title.

>>It was Valentino Rossi who identified Bridgestone tyres as the cause of the superior pace that the Ducati was able to generate and hold on to.

He was mistaken as he later found out firsthand. Stoner was the only fast Duacti rider on the 800s even though they all ran Bridgestones so he was the 'cause' of the superior pace. Handicapping Michelin by preventing them from using their fast production capabilities didn't hurt either.

>>Till then I will say Stoner was a genius who could win races on the Ducati which others were not able to do. Talking about his genius beyond that would be misplaced. I would say that riders like Wayne Rainey and to a lesser extent Kevin Schwantz who could win world championships from under the nose of Mick Doohan (another enormous talent on a clearly superior Honda) would qualify to be called geniuses.

So Rainey and Schwantz who won titles against superior bikes and great riders qualify to be called a genius but Stoner who won a title against superior bikes and one of the greatest riders of all time does not? Why not? Didn't Rossi's two years at Ducati teach you anything? It surely taught Rossi that Stoner was a lot better than he thought.

Chris

Total votes: 119

2007 ducati is not the same level of relative performance as the 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011 (or any other variant).

Comparing Rossi's performance on the 2011 bike to Stoner's on the 2007 bike is not being fair. There are so many variables that have changed, and even Casey's performance on the later Ducs got progressively worse (front end folding), no doubt as the Bridgestone tyres were changed from being well suited to (or even designed specifically for) the Duc, to being a general tyre for everyone, which means that chassis engineering to suit the spec tyre is now a thing and he who has the biggest budget is likely to win (Surprise! HRC).

The fact that Honda and Yamaha were clearly caught with their pants down in 2007 and no doubt spent vast amounts of money to catch up probably had something to do with it also.

Total votes: 118

I never compared Rossi on the 2011 bike to Stoner on the 2007 or any Ducati. I merely said that Stoner was the key to Ducati performance, not Bridgestone tires. Something that has been true for every Preziosi bike from the GP7 on.

Would it be fair to compare Stoner's last 6 races on the 2010 Ducati, 3 wins, a 2nd and 2 crashes, with any of Rossi's winter testing or 2011 results? This is the problem with most Rossi fans. Rossi himself said that as soon as he did one lap at the Valencia test he knew he was 'in the shit' and many times has said that Stoner was able to ride the bike in a way he could not. If he could acknowledge how good Stoner is why can't his fans?

>>Casey's performance on the later Ducs got progressively worse

Did his performance get worse or did the competition step it up, as you point out with Honda and Yamaha. Lorenzo also moved up, adding the 4th alien so I'm not sure Stoner did worse as opposed to everyone else performing better and pushing him harder and resulting in more crashes. Seems to me that he could ride the Duc with a custom tire or a spec tire like nobody else could.

Chris

Total votes: 93

While I believe you are correct in saying we shouldn't overly compare the 07 Ducati to the machine Rossi rode (although with Ducati development maybe it is!) one certainly can compare the 2010 machine to Rossi's 2011. stoner could sti'll win on that machine. Rossi couldn't even make the top 15.

Total votes: 105

Chris,

You have misunderstood my some of my points. No issues. I will not further this due to respect for Mr. Emmett who has been kind enough to let these comments remain here and let us not break that trust. I would also like to go on record that I see your comments usually as very mature and coming from person who is knowledgeable (far more than I am) about issues in racing. But for once I will say, I am not seeing through yellow glasses.

Dear David,
Please forgive me if this was not required. I don't know it maybe the egoist in me who wanted to say that I am not seeing through yellow glasses and apparently I couldn't stop him. Apologies again.

Total votes: 105

2007 was the year where it seems some fans witnessed one thing, and many others witnessed something completely different.

Many of those fans who witnessed 2006, watched the Ducati stronger than it had ever been, and the Bridgestones far more consistent and competitive than they'd ever been, No greater example is the last race of the season in Valencia-these fans were more prepared for 2007 but even then the straight line speed advantage was eye popping.....
In my opinion, Ducati had a large advantage in 2007-Qatar, China, Catalunya, Sepang, Estoril etc highlighted this. Honda and Yamaha were caught out.
On top of this, the tyre supply regulations changed-allowing Bridgestone to then take the advantage-completely putting Michelin's entire unbeatable program/strategy and infrastructure out of business.
Yes Casey Stoner was good, but it was also a perfect storm. And undoubtedly Valentino Rossi was right, as in 2008 with the same rubber-he won. And he also won the following year.
The age-old Fanboy argument- comparing the Ducati of 2007, bespoke/tailored rubber, freshly altered 800cc regulations including a lowering of the fuel limit, superior electronics and horsepower, no engine regulations-to the largely unchanged and far behind the eight ball Ducati of 2010-11-which even with Stoner on board (their most successful rider) was crashing far more than it was winning-and it was by then competing against an extremely well sorted Yamaha, and Honda which had just introduced the ultra expensive seemless gearbox-and Bridgestone was not (and still isn't) providing enough options as the sole supply, forcing the bikes to be engineered around the tyre-which was near on impossible for Ducati as the engine regulation was preventing them from altering the dynamics of the bike because it was a stressed member of the frame and so on and so on.
Yes, Rossi has stated in 2011 he underestimated the Ducati and what Stoner was doing with it. But this does not change the fact that the Ducati/Bridgestone combination of 2007 compared with their competition was a world apart from 2011. Call it yellow glasses if you will, however 4 years is a technical lifetime in motogp in my book.

Total votes: 129

For the sake my sanity, any more comments on 2007, the relative merits of Stoner, Rossi, Ducati, Bridgestone, Yamaha, Michelin will be removed. The truth is more complex than most people will admit, and I frankly grow weary of hosting the same old argument over and over and over again.

All of the comments so far have been balanced and reasonable, but from years of moderating this discussion, I can feel it is teetering on the brink go descending into fanboy nonsense. So I am stepping in, to save us from ourselves.

Total votes: 120

Wasn't attempting to open the same old can of worms with a few wry asides.
Point is, despite whatever views some in the sport may present as fact, the issue is never as simple as "he got better tyres than me" or "he's slow because he can't ride on Bridgestones" or "he's only fast because he has better rubber".
And that's the point I was making with both the McCoy thing and also the Stoner/Bridgestone thing. People hop on something they think is the silver bullet that will give them the winning formula, but it's never just one thing.
I remember all the folderol around Mighty Mick's thumb brake and how that must have been where he was getting the advantage. Which greatly disrespected Mick's speed and grit and talent.

So it is with tyres. The people who think tyres are the be-all and end-all are missing the point.
IMHO, "c'est toujours le pilote/siempre es el piloto/it is always the rider"

The riders will go as fast as the tyres and the machines will allow.

Total votes: 122

but sometimes tyres provide an advantage to a style, such as bridgestones bulletproof front that enables Lorenzo to do what he wants with the bike.

But ultimately, the only year that lorenzo sat on michelin he spent a lot of time in the air. From then onwards he had bridgestone and has spent lot of time perfecting his style on a yamaha using bridgestone where he favours the front end as the bridgestone and the yamaha allow him to do.

Now he is on a front end that doesnt quite behave as flawlessly. In fact a lot of the feedback is similar to the previous michelin feedback around the front end being fine to a point, then it would flick you down the road.

The consistency and performacne of teh bridgestone was why Vale wanted it - so he could actually consistently compete with Casey.

Total votes: 123

Lorenzo also spent a lot of time on the front row and on the podium in his rookie season.

My memory tells me that a (another?) massive advantage for Bridgestone in 2008 was with the wets. I seem to recall a race at Laguna Seca in intermediate conditions where all the michelin bikes were way off the pace by half distance, their wets (rears!) totally destroyed and looking more like slicks, whilst the bridgestones looked like they could run another race.

Vale (and Dani) wanted the Bridgestones because they built a better tyre.

Total votes: 108