Additional Front Tire Withdrawn After Getting Stuck In Customs

The MotoGP riders will not have the additional soft front tire at their disposal for the Argentinian Grand Prix. In a meeting of the Safety Commission on Friday night, the riders agreed that they did not need the tire, as the current allocation of three fronts was sufficient for safety purposes.

The decision is unlikely to make much of a difference to most riders. With rain expected on Saturday for both practice and qualifying, the riders would not have been able to use it anyway. That would have left them with the option of trying it out during morning warm up, but actually running it in the race would have been a big risk based on very little data in Argentina.

The additional tire is basically the prototype tire which the MotoGP riders used at Valencia at the end of 2016, which uses the 2017 profile but a stiffer carcass than the current tire. Though it worked well in  Valencia, Argentina is a very different track with a lot more very fast corners, which stresses the tire differently. Getting it to work properly would have required more work than just a brief session.

The news of the tire withdrawal, which first appeared on the French website Paddock GP, is partly a result of a customs strike in Argentina. The tires were held up in customs, and did not arrive at the circuit on time on Friday. With so little time to test it, the riders decided not to use the tire. The additional front is outside of the normal allocation of tires, and additional tires are normally only used for reasons of safety, such as when Michelin is uncertain a tire will last the entire race distance. However, all three existing front tires were judged to be performing well, and so with no safety grounds to allow it, the riders decided to postpone using it. The tire will be trialed once again later this year, either at the next race in Austin or at the post-race test on the Monday after Jerez. 

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Comments

Your colleague Zamagni wrote that there is a lot going on behind the scenes hinting that most riders voted against that tyre as they considered unfair to "help" Rossi. Sorry I don't want to give the impression of looking for unnecessary gossip but to be honest I'm rather intrigued by this whole back and forth... do you have info about it? Thank you

I was told that this was an extra tire, which would only really have been allowed on safety grounds normally anyway. I don't know what was discussed in the meeting, but the idea of a conspiracy is a little far-fetched. There were basically five riders who wanted the new front: Rossi, Marquez, Pedrosa, Crutchlow, and Iannone. The talk I have heard is that there was a lot of pressure from both Rossi's and Marquez' side to try to get the tire.

However, it wouldn't really make much difference in Argentina. The soft compound would probably be too soft for both the Hondas and the Yamaha. The medium and hard fronts are the tires they are looking at for the race. The soft compound, even with the different construction, is too soft for the race in Argentina, especially for riders who ask a lot of their tires under braking. Rossi, Marquez, and Crutchlow all do that.

More than a conspiracy I personally think it's a big mess up..... Cecchinello even said that they tried it (the old tyre the one being held by customs....) and did not work well.... I agree that it's really not very smart to bring the soft compound there....
Much ado about nothing. Thank you for taking the time to answer